The role of sales representatives in cross-cultural business-to-business relationships

Flora F. Gu*, Jeff Jianfeng Wang, Danny T WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


This study responds to the call for the “internationalization of sales research” by collecting data from 160 international buyers spanning 33 countries and regions. Based on survey data, archival sales records and cultural-distance indices, this research examines the performance-enhancing effect of sales rep-owned commitment as well as its antecedents under varying degrees of cultural distance. Our results show a strong and direct impact of rep-owned commitment, independent of the effect of firm-owned commitment, on enhancing performance indicators including sales volume, importers' purchase share, and importers' future purchase intentions. Moreover, we find two important antecedents to rep-owned commitment: benevolence trust and capability trust. Interestingly, cultural distance moderates the effects of benevolence and capability trust on rep-owned commitment: the larger the cultural distance, the stronger the effect of benevolence trust but the weaker the effect of capability trust. We conclude with theoretical and managerial implications to international marketing research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cultural distance
  • Exporting
  • International marketing
  • Relationship marketing
  • Sales representatives
  • Trust


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