Spirituality in the salesperson: the impact of the golden rule and personal faith on workplace job attitudes



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Texas A&M University


Do salespeople who follow the Golden Rule or let their faith influence their behavior serve their customers better or like their jobs and employers more than other salespeople? The Golden Rule is a quote from Christ found in Matthew 7:12 NIV and is considered a universal ethical principle taught by all major religions. It is also a behavioral standard for many in business. A review of the sales, marketing, and organizational literatures, however, failed to uncover studies which assess the relationships of following the Golden Rule or a person??????s faith or spirituality with key business outcomes. Salespeople impact the performance and perception of their firms, yet are regarded as highly unethical by the public. Therefore, an investigation of how these variables influence their behavior seems justified. A Golden Rule Disposition (GRD) is conceptualized as a higher-order personality disposition which influences the traits of agape love, forgiveness, gratitude, humility, and selflessness. Personal faith is defined as a higher order personality trait blending a desire for a personal relationship with God (the Divine or Supreme Being) with core personality influences on the behaviors of an individual. A comprehensive model was developed and tested using structural equation modeling to investigate a GRD??????s relationships with job satisfaction, organizational commitment, propensity to leave, life satisfaction, and customer orientation. Personal faith??????s influence on these relationships was tested using moderated multiple regression. Completed questionnaires were collected from 142 members of an automobile dealer??????s sales force to provide the data for this study. A GRD influenced all proposed lower order traits except for selflessness and humility. A GRD had a positive effect on all dependent variables except propensity to leave and life satisfaction. Faith was not a moderator of any relationships, but was found to be positively related to forgiveness and gratitude. A surprising result was the lack of a relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction. These findings should be important to organizations that practice the marketing concept. The combined effect of following the Golden Rule and personal faith leads to more satisfied customers and a more stable workforce to meet organizational goals.