The Correlation Between A Code of Ethics and Sales Behavior

JoEllen Jonsson, Dr. Alexander Lawrence

The relationship between a salesperson’s ethical selling behavior and a business’s ethical code, training, and
culture have been studied periodically. This study seeks to investigate the question, does having a code of ethics
positively influence the behavior of salespeople? After surveying a sample of sales professionals from a variety of
industries, results showed a relationship between a salesperson who is directed by a code of ethics and his/her
belief that he is an ethical person. However, 48% said yes, their code of ethics impacted their decision-making
process. This study suggests that a code of ethics can provide an employee benchmark to help them identify the
type of intrinsic values and extrinsic actions an ethical person should have in the workplace. Surprisingly, our
findings indicate that salespeople who have a company culture that includes virtue, ethics and effective
communication from management show no association to the ethical behavior of sales representatives.