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The effects of the salesperson’s characteristics on buyer-seller relationships

Yonghoon Choi (Faculty of Commerce, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.)
Ying Huang (Manning School of Business, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts, United States.)
Brenda Sternquist (Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retailing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States.)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 June 2015




This paper aims to examine the influence of the salesperson’s characteristics (organizational commitment [OC] and disposition to innovate) on buyer’s behaviors in buyer – supplier relationships. A model is proposed depicting the effects of the salesperson’s OC and disposition to innovate on buyer’s long-term orientation and opportunism through partner-specific value to the buyer.


Data were collected from 155 sales professionals of Japanese manufacturers. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data.


As predicted, the salesperson’s OC and disposition to innovate enhance buyer’s long-term orientation through providing partner-specific value to the buyer, and in turn, buyer’s long-term orientation mitigates opportunism.

Practical implications

The salesperson plays an important role for developing and maintaining Buyer-seller relationships. Based on authors’ results, firms should promote salespeople’s OC because a highly committed salesperson is likely to be more innovative when managing the relationship with the buyer and, in turn, increase the relationship-specific value to the buyer.


This study makes two contributions to Buyer-seller relationship literature. First, previous studies on the salesperson focus on the social aspects in the relationship. This study, however, examines the salesperson characteristics in the exchange, and the results reveal the importance of including the salesperson characteristics in studying Buyer-seller relationships. Second, this study proposes the salesperson’s partner-specific value as a key boundary-spanning aspect mediating the salesperson characteristics and buyer’s behaviors in Buyer-seller relationships. The results confirm the argument, thus providing impetus for further studying different types and dimensions of transaction-specific assets in Buyer-seller relationships.



Choi, Y., Huang, Y. and Sternquist, B. (2015), "The effects of the salesperson’s characteristics on buyer-seller relationships", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 616-625.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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