Research by: Sandeep Puri 


Executive Summary

Salesforce is an integral part of any organization as it is responsible for generating income and revenue. Sales executives have specific responsibilities to their organizations, customers, and society. There are three general objectives of sales management: sales volume, contribution to profits, and continuing growth. In sales, the borderline between what is right or wrong, ethical or unethical, is not clear-cut. Ethical criteria are qualitative and relative, not quantitative and absolute. Many practices are controversial—considered ethical by some, unethical by others. Unethical sales practices are one of the primary factors that give a bad name to the sales professionals.  This article allows deliberating on the importance of ethics in sales management in an industry where fierce competition and unethical practice are rampant.  


The article described the dilemma of an MD of a pharmaceutical company when a top-performing sales executive was caught submitting a false daily report of customer calls. The sales representative was the company’s top sales performer for three consecutive years. MD of the company wonders what he must do to maintain company’s ethical code of conduct yet strive for a healthy balance between ambitious targets and good selling practices in a hypercompetitive business environment that has had led many companies to indulge in unethical practices to achieve ambitious targets. 


To cite this article: Puri, S. (2019). Your star salesperson lied. Should he get a second chance? Harvard Business Review, 97(5), 156-160. 


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About the Journal  

Harvard Business Review (HBR) covers a wide range of topics, including strategy, leadership, organizational change, negotiations, operations, innovation, decision making, marketing, finance, work-life balance, and managing teams. They publish articles of many lengths (some in both print and digital forms, and some in digital-only), graphics, podcasts, videos, slide presentations, and just about any other media that might help us share an idea effectively. 


SJR: 170 ABS: 3 | FT50