Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

James Boles - Chair

Second Advisor

Dan Bellenger

Third Advisor

Donaldd R. Robin

Fourth Advisor

Naveen Donthu


The purpose of this research is to examine how the ethical decision making of a salesperson is influenced by job characteristics, and how ethical decision making then influences job outcomes. This research is important because the field of ethics draws from diverse disciplines that have minimal agreement with each other. While calls have been made for a uniform standard of ethics, a better decision may be for each discipline to look internally to determine both what ethics is and how it functions in relation to other variables on in each disciplines unique field. This study examines first how the exogenous job characteristic variables of perceived organizational support, sales force control system and ethical values of the salesperson affect ethical decision making. Perceived organizational support and the behavioral-based sales force control system are hypothesized to positively influence ethical decision making. The link between perceived organizational support and ethical decision making has been observed in the field of accounting, and sales research has found that perceived organizational support leads to organizational citizenship behavior, which contains ethical decision making under its umbrella. Behavior-based sales force control systems are predicted to lead to ethical decision making because this type of control system has been shown to both lead to increased affective organizational commitment and reduce the benefits of acting unethically. The ethical values of the salesperson are predicted to moderate the relationships between the independent variables and ethical decision making. Ethical values and the independent variables in the study are influenced by similar antecedent constructs. The study also examines how ethical decision making influences the endogenous job outcomes variables of affective organizational commitment and salesperson performance. Ethical decision making is hypothesized to positively influence both performance and commitment. Ethical climates have been found to increase commitment, and performance is considered a key outcome of ethical decision making. Azjen’s (1985) theory of planned behavior ties the hypotheses together.

Included in

Marketing Commons