Marketing Faculty Publications and Presentations

“Because you are a part of me”: Assessing the effects of salesperson social media use on job outcomes and the moderating roles of moral identity and gender

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  • Social media used by salesperson can reduce psychological distance (PD) with customers

  • Social media use (SMU) increases salesperson inclusion of customer in the self (ICS)

  • ICS strengthens the role of SMU in explaining salesperson role as knowledge broker leading to superior sales performance

  • Moral identity (MI) interacts with SMU to reduce the PD between salespeople and customers

  • Salesperson MI and gender play role in explaining the effectiveness of SMU in increasing psychological proximity


Although the effects of salesperson social media use have recently received significant scholarly attention, there remains critical research gaps that, if addressed, can further broaden our understanding of the impact of salesperson social media use in business-to-business settings. Grounded in construal level theory and the related psychological distance framework, we suggest that salesperson social media use increases salesperson inclusion-of-the-customer-in-the-self by reducing the psychological distance between the salesperson and their respective customers. More so, we posit that this relationship is positively moderated by salesperson moral identity, such that the relationship is strengthened at higher levels of moral identity. Furthermore, we identify a potential three-way interaction by considering the role of salesperson gender in driving this interactive relationship. Our results, based on survey responses from 158 business-to-business salespeople, lend support to our theoretical model and shows that the moderating effect of salesperson moral identity on the relationship between salesperson social media use and salesperson inclusion-of-customer-in-the-self is stronger for females than it is for males. Additionally, we find that salesperson inclusion-of-customer-in-the-self is related to higher salesperson customer knowledge, which, ultimately, improves salesperson performance. In the light of our findings, we discuss subsequent managerial and theoretical implications.


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Publication Title

Industrial Marketing Management