Department of Marketing


Navigating Difficult Waters: Publishing Trends and Scholarship in Sales Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2008


In this paper, we examine long-term knowledge-dissemination trends and future prospects for personal selling and sales management research. We augment data from a more than two-decade, 1,200+ article content analysis of sales research with perceptual data from a survey of leading sales researchers worldwide. The content analysis exposes a marked decline of published sales manuscripts at the most prestigious marketing journals. Three lenses are then offered to better understand this trend�the methods chosen, the theories leveraged, and the topical areas pursued. Survey data from sales scholars provide additional insights into these issues. Overall, we highlight a remarkable congruence between the largely disconcerting publishing pattern of sales research in recent decades and the sentiment of sales scholars as to why this might have transpired. We conclude with a broader discussion and set of recommendations for the continued advancement of sides research in marketing going forward.



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