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Irish Marketing Review




The relationship between Machiavellianism and sales performance is emotionally charged. Few comments evoke more passionate responses from sales professionals and scholars of personal selling and sales management than the mere hint that selling might be Machiavellian. Yet while frequently debated, the topic is generally misunderstood.

This article is intended to clarify the misunderstanding surrounding this relationship by explaining the concept of Machiavellianism, and by examining empirical data on Machiavellianism and sales performance. Recent findings suggest the success or failure of Machiavellian tactics used during personal selling appears to be related to the organisational structure of the firm for which sales representatives sell. In loosely structured salesmarketing organisations 'so-called' high Machiavellians tend to be more successful than low Machiavellians, but in tightly structured sales-marketing organisations, high Machiavellians tend to be less successful than low Machiavellians. Managerial implications and policy considerations are discussed.


Author Posting © Mercury Publications, 1994. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Mercury Publications for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Irish Marketing Review, Volume 7, 1994.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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