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Ethical Issues For Sales Persons

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Autor:   •  June 29, 2011  •  649 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,051 Views

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The major typical ethical issues for sales people and sales managers вЂ" review the types, causes and make suggestions on how to address.

Ethical conflict is defined as occurring when an individual feels pressure to take actions that are inconsistent with what he or she feels to be right (Correlates p. 343)

Whilst analysis of ethical conflict and the various ethical issues is relevant in many aspects of business, it is particularly important in the area of personal selling and sales management. This is because of the nature of the relationship between the sales person and the buyer or buying organisation. The relationship creates a propensity for ethical conflict and dilemma because sales people often have to make decisions in the field in response to customers’ demands and competitive offers (text) (find other reasons).

If sales people are unable to resolve ethical dilemmas they will often encounter increased job related tension, frustration and anxiety resulting in decreasing performance and increasing turnover (corporate code of ethics).

This paper discusses the various types of ethical issues and dilemmas encountered by the sales person in the course of their employment. The causes of ethical conflict and how such conflict can be addressed will be analysed in general terms and also specifically in light of the ethical issues of sexual harassment and bribery faced by sales people and management alike.


Sales people and managers are faced with a variety of ethical dilemmas through interactions with many internal and external stakeholders such as customers, competitors and employers. They are exposed to greater ethical pressures than individuals in many other jobs. They work in relatively unsupervised settings, they are primarily responsible for generating the firms revenues which at times can be very stressful (determinants). Business ethics issues common to many sales professions include the following.

Ð'* Dishonesty / Transparency;

In whatever it takes results of a sales and marketing management survey of 200 sales managers reveal that �49 percent of surveyed managers say their reps have lied on a sales call, 34 percent say they’ve heard reps make unrealistic promises on a sales call and 22 percent say their reps have sold products their customers didn’t need’ (whatever it takes). The above survey results demonstrate the unethical behaviour of sales representatives around the issue of lying and

Ð'* Expense reporting;

Unethical expense reporting behaviour is seen when sales people abuse the company’s reimbursement policy.

Ð'* Entertainment;

Business entertainment for customers is a standard approach in many sales professions. Tight controls are enforced when it comes to providing entertainment so as not to be seen as a form of bribe. In many industry’s guidelines have put restrictions on what constitutes business related entertainment with regards to venue, spouses and activities.

Ð'* Bribery


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