The purpose of this study is to examine the role of salesperson moral identity centrality in value co-creation. This study identified and tested an extended identity-based formation process of selling orientation, customer orientation and value co-creation. This was accomplished by examining the role of inclusion of others in the self and circle of moral regard in the mechanism through which moral identity centrality impacts selling orientation, customer orientation and value co-creation, taking into account the contingency role of salesperson self-construal.
An extended identity-behavior model grounded in identity theory and the social-cognitive perspective of moral identity centrality was tested. The study used survey data from business-to-business salespeople. Data collected was analyzed using structural equation modeling.
The results show that a central moral identity to a salesperson’s self-drives higher expansion of the salesperson’s circle of moral regard. This process facilitates the mechanisms for salesperson moral identity centrality to decrease selling orientation and increase customer orientation and value co-creation, leading to higher sales performance. Independent self-construal is found to deteriorate the positive effects of salesperson moral identity centrality on the inclusion of others in the self, expansion of the circle of moral regard and customer orientation.
Through the conceptualized and tested framework, the study opens the door for additional research to inspect the role of moral identity centrality in sales.
Findings have implications for the human resource side of sales organizations in the areas of recruitment, mentoring, coaching and training. Moral identity centrality plays a vital role in the interface between salespeople and customers, leading to improved behavioral and sales outcomes. Sales managers must look for their salespeople’s moral identity centrality to improve morality in the attitudes and decision-making of their salesforce.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to uncover the vital impacts of salesperson moral identity centrality on selling orientation, customer orientation and value co-creation. Through the conceptualized and tested framework, the study opens the door for additional research to inspect the role of moral identity centrality in sales.
Itani, O.S., Chonko, L. and Agnihotri, R. (2022), "Salesperson moral identity and value co-creation", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56 No. 2, pp. 500-531. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-06-2020-0431
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European Journal of Marketing