Special Session on Research Opportunities in Direct Selling: An Abstract
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Direct selling is a vibrant component of the economic fabric of the United States, as well as globally. As such, it merits serious research attention from both a macro perspective (for example, a channel of distribution) and a micro perspective (for example, individual entrepreneurship). Moreover, the personal nature of direct selling, being based on a strong person-to-person interactive process, enables a variety of research endeavors that use direct selling to provide a vehicle or venue for data collection and testing hypotheses. Indeed, more than 150 peer-reviewed articles have been published on direct selling topics or have used direct selling data in research.
The Academy of Marketing Science has a long history of interacting with direct selling companies. For example, direct selling companies CUTCO/Vector and Mary Kay have funded endowments used in AMS recognition activities and have “opened their doors” to marketing professors desiring research, databases, consulting, and internship opportunities. This history amplifies possibilities for pragmatic and theoretical research.
This direct selling research special session features a panel of professors who are not only involved in direct selling research activities but also represent current and former leaders of AMS. Through this special session, conference participants are exposed to present, past, and potential research in the direct selling arena and to relevant topics across direct selling structures (Robert A. Peterson), ethics (O.C. Ferrell), technology (Linda Ferrell), case studies (Victoria Crittenden), and social issues (Linda L. Golden). Direct selling, as a highly relevant business and entrepreneurial topic, offers abundant research opportunities relevant to business broadly, direct selling companies specifically, academics, and government policy makers.