Business / Ethical Issues For Sales Persons

Ethical Issues For Sales Persons

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Autor:  anton  29 June 2011
Tags:  Ethical,  Issues,  Persons
Words: 649   |   Pages: 3
Views: 568

The major typical ethical issues for sales people and sales managers – 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.

TYPES OF ETHICAL ISSUES

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.

В· 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

В· Expense reporting;

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

В· 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.

· Bribery (refer main article and “Whatever it Takes”); When a gift becomes a bribe.

В· Sexual harassment;

CAUSES:

According to sales professionals and the experts the driving force behind this questionable activity is the pressure to do business in today’s combative marketplace. The stress brought on by quotas, pay plans and a selling environment that encourages fierce competition in in too many cases eroding morality (whatever it takes).

В· General: refer extensively to RF&CF article (others include competitive intensity etc, mentioned age, education from RF article);

· “Specific Examples”:

o Sexual Harrassment: what are the causes??

o Bribery: what are the causes??

ADDRESSING THE ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

В· Corporate Culture (change wording):

o Raise consciousness about the importance of ethics within the organization.

o Review all marketing materials to assess accuracy.

o Make it clear that anyone who violates the ethical code will be penalized.

o Recruiting qualified salespeople who can succeed without resorting to deception.

В· Beyond those basics, management must develop a corporate culture that puts a premium on these factors:

o Building customer relationships, rather than focusing on individual transactions.

o Simplifying products and/or product information so the buyer can understand it.

o Recruiting qualified salespeople who can succeed without resorting to deception.

o Stressing continuing education, starting as early as high school and going on throughout a sales career.



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