Exploring the role of self- and customer-provoked embarrassment in personal selling
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We investigate the role that embarrassment, a self-conscious emotion, plays within a selling context. First, we consider what SC-emotions in general are and whether embarrassment might have positive as well as negative impacts on selling behavior. Next, we examine how embarrassment differs from sales call anxiety (SCA). The results show that embarrassment is manifest as an awkward, abashed chagrin provoked either by what a salesperson does that is inappropriate (self-provoked embarrassment) or what a customer does that is inappropriate or offensive to a salesperson (customer-provoked embarrassment). Self- and customer-provoked embarrassment each induce distinct coping responses and both diminish adaptive resource utilization during interactions with customers; this in turn promotes avoidance of future contact with the customer (especially for customer-provoked embarrassment). Implications of the research for practitioners are discussed.