Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Personal Selling Management in Hungary, Portugal and New Zealand - Is There a Link between Personal Selling and Collectivism

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Personal Selling Management in Hungary, Portugal and New Zealand - Is There a Link between Personal Selling and Collectivism

Article excerpt


This study examines the link between personal selling and collectivism found in small clothing and shoe retailers in New Zealand, Portugal and Hungary. These three culturally similar and predominately Anglophone countries are selected for this research as most of the prior researches with a cultural factor are conducted in culturally dissimilar nations, hence the results can hardly be generalised across the countries with similar culture. This research reveals that there is a sufficient link between choice of personal selling as a promotional tool and the collectivist orientation on the part of the retailers. The results shows that the retailers who orientate towards collectivism in their cultural value structure will perceive personal selling as an important promotional tool and therefore, spend more of their promotion budget on personal communication tools such as personal selling and will continue to do so. It is concluded in this paper that there is a definitive link between personal selling and collectivism in small clothing and shoe retailers. The results showed in this research allow the retailers to have a better understanding of how personal selling can be used effectively in their promotion plans.

Keywords: Collectivism, cross-culture, personal selling, retailing


In today's highly technical and fast paced market, consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the need to gather more information regarding products and services before they make a final purchase decision, especially customized messages. From the company's perspective, they tend to customize their product or service information in order to increase the value offered to the customers and gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. This information is often available mainly through the form of sales personnel, who act as communicators of a company's market offerings and are seen as somewhat more reliable as the less personal forms of promotion tools such as print and broadcast advertising.

Related to this, the competencies of salespersons such as the attitude and manner of dealing with a customer, physical appearance and the extent of the knowledge regarding a company's merchandise is seen to essentially reflect the company's actual market positioning and the image that they wish to impart to their customers. As the personal contact that a salesperson engages with the current and potential customers, personal selling is increasingly perceived as a critical contributor to a company's success (Boone and Kurtz, 1992).

To small firms, who may find that their other promotional efforts go relatively unnoticed in the mass of media communication already in the market, personal selling may be a way to differentiate themselves or to build and maintain effective customer-firm relationships that will benefit the company in the long run (Manning and Reece, 1998). A satisfied customer is seen as the key to success for the company, which is particularly important to small businesses as they rely more on the referred customers. Personal selling adds a certain amount of extra value to the sales itself and also highlights other product or service needs that the company may not have easily identified without the two-way communication that personal selling brings (Manning and Reece, 1998).

Substantial studies have examined why retailers choose promotional tools such as personal selling, identifying several reasons such as the nature of the business (Greenley and Shipley 1992), the target audience (Nowak, et al., 1993), the cost effectiveness of the tool (Jackson, Hawkes and Hertel, 1979) and the media attributes (Otnes and Faber, 1989). Few studies however, as pointed out by Fam and Merilees (1998), look at possible cultural influence behind promotional tool choice.

In this paper, we investigate the main cultural influences that drive small retailers to focus on personal selling as an important promotional tool for their business in the context of clothing and shoe retailing across three predominantly Anglophone countries, i. …

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