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The Death of a Salesman Revisited: Part A and B

Herbert Sherman (Long Island University – Brooklyn Campus)
Daniel James Rowley (University of Northern Colorado)

Publication date: 1 May 2008


Derived from field and telephone interviews, e-mail communications, and secondary sources, this two part case describes how Gerald Mahoney, a shoes salesman in a Foley's Department store, is faced with a problem - Macy's has bought out the Foley's chain and, in doing so, has upscale the product line of shoes and altered his commission-based compensation system. These changes have resulted in less sales for Mr. Mahoney and therein lower commission - a difficult situation since he, his wife, and his daughter were barely getting by on his currently salary. Part A of the case describes an opportunity that presents itself to Mr. Mahoney; to leave his current job with a guaranteed low salary with possible additional income from commissions for a job selling residential homes which becomes purely commission-based to start with after three months of a salary plus commission pay that includes job training. In Part B Mr. Mahoney has decided to take the sales job with ABC Home Builders and receives his assignment. He finds that the working conditions of the sales office are not conducive to selling. His office is located in the rear of a trailer that is extremely run down and is paired with a competitive, noncommunicative saleswoman. The case ends with Mr. Mahoney feeling hopeless and alienated.

This two part case has been written primarily for an undergraduate junior level course in career planning or sales management and deals with the issues of recruitment, placement, training, and compensation. The case may also be employed in a course dealing with human resource management (from an individual's perspective), salesmanship, and organizational behavior.


Sherman, H. and Rowley, D.J. (2008), "The Death of a Salesman Revisited: Part A and B", , Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 41-57.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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