Department of Marketing


Assessing the Evolution of Sales Knowledge: A 20-Year Content Analysis

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2007


1012 articles appearing in 15 prominent journals over the period 1983–2002 were content analyzed in order to assess the state of published research in the domain of selling and sales management. The results provide a comprehensive, two-decade look at the key topical, theoretical, and methodological patterns prevalent at the aggregate level as well as within selected journals. Without question, the sales field has generated a considerable body of knowledge representing a range of issues, empirical approaches, and conceptual foundations. However, this review reveals several longer term trends that may challenge the sales community to consider new approaches to designing and executing sales research. Implications of these findings for researchers and industrial marketing practitioners are discussed.



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