Les Cahiers de Recherche - HEC Paris
DALSACE Frédéric, ANDERSON Erin and ROSS, Jr. William T.
Path Dependence in Personal Selling : A Meso-Analysis of Vertical Integration
Abstract: We examine an unusual form of path dependence, in which
suppliers that take different decision paths end up in the same position:
excessive vertical integration of the personal selling function. We argue
that this is the case even though outsourcing is more seriously considered
than ever, and economic arguments for outsourcing the sales function are
compelling. We develop an institutional explanation at the meso level (a
combination of individual, organization, and environmental forces,
explicitly considering how these levels combine). This meso-analysis
focuses on four forces driving firms toward being locked into employee
sales forces. We enumerate and classify these mechanisms, illustrating them
with a simple simulation of how outsourcing sales becomes rare. We close
with testable propositions about which firms are most likely to break their
dependence on a vertically integrated path.
Keywords: path dependence; personal selling; outsourcing; sales function; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: M12; M31; (follow links to similar papers)
52 pages, July 1, 2003
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