Ethics and Personal Selling: Death of a Salesman as an Ethical Primer

Caywood, Clarice L.; Laczniak, Gene R.
August 1986
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;Aug86, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p81
Academic Journal
Playwright Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," is a classic American play. The article proposes that Death of a Salesman, when examined in light of contemporary social standards, can be positioned as a provocative launching point for understanding ethical issues in the context of sales management. While the general press and trade press have long commented on practices such as high-pressure selling, bait and switch promotions and bribery to stimulate sales, empirical efforts have been few. The article attempts to delineate several propositions about the ethical aspects of personal selling which are worthy of further reflection and perhaps empirical investigation. Ethical problems and conflict also come with the territory of the sales representative. Salespeople are decision makers who often face instant choices alone. In many situations they cannot defer to organizational structures and committees. Sales ethics is an equally serious and important management responsibility. Today's sales representatives needs more than an ethically neutral management system.


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