Buying from a foreigner: Consumer stereotyping of immigrant salespeople in retail sales encounters

Navn på bevillingshaver

Milena Micevski


Associate Professor


Copenhagen Business School


DKK 4,591,096




Semper Ardens: Accelerate


Stereotypical beliefs about different countries or nationalities transfer intuitively to our impressions of individuals coming from these countries and our affective responses towards the members of that particular social group. For example, Germans are typically associated with discipline and efficiency. Based on these stereotypical inferences, each encounter with a German person will evoke assumptions that this person possesses these characteristics. Against this background, the aim of this project is to investigate the effect these stereotypical beliefs that emerge from the connections to salespeople cultural background have in the selling context. This project specifically focuses on the selling effectiveness of immigrant salespeople. To this end, this project explores how the stereotypical beliefs that customers hold of immigrant salespeople impact the evaluation and effectiveness of immigrant sales people selling efforts.


Europe has for decades now represented a desirable migratory destination for immigrants of various cultural origins. Each year more than 4 Million people immigrate to one of the EU countries. These trends lead to a considerable increase in day-to-day intercultural encounters which have now become more of a rule than an exception. These tendencies are particularly present in the retail and service sectors, as these are the sectors employing the majority of the migrant workers. Although academic research is particularly interested in determinants of customer satisfaction in this multi-cultural reality, researchers and practitioners are still left wondering to what extent is the success of immigrant salespeople selling efforts loaded with and influenced by cross-cultural associations consumers hold of them. It is in these everyday experiences, such as retail sales context, where a large proportion of integration occurs and this is where the alternative avenues for integrating immigrant workers into the labor market could be found. As such the findings also make significant policy contribution as they enrich our understanding of and ways to overcome the barriers to integration of the workforce with different immigration background.


This project combines a variety of research methods to gain a more in-depth understanding of the effects of immigrant salespeople stereotypes across selling situations and customer characteristics. For these purposes a mixed-methods approach consisting of a systematic literature review, exploratory in-depth interviews with consumers, and six experimental studies will be utilized. In addition, a series of qualitative studies is planned for gaining a more in depth understanding as to how these stereotypes are triggered and what the potential mechanisms through which the negative effects can be overcome in sales encounters are.

Tilbage til oversigtssiden