Creating Advocates: A Social Network or Role-Making Phenomenon?

Jean-Laurent Rodriguez, Chin-I Cheng, Concha Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New customers represent an important resource for direct selling organizations through advocacy behaviors, such as positively representing and promoting the company and salesperson to others. This paper presents a study of new customer advocacy behavior in a direct selling context, testing whether pre-existing social ties new customers have with an existing advocate leading to social ties with the salesperson or role performance of the salesperson lead to advocacy behaviors among new customers. Findings from a survey of customers of French direct selling organizations suggest that advocacy can be created in the absence of strong new customer/salesperson social ties. New customer advocacy appears to be a function of the salesperson intra-role performance and advocate expertise. Thus, advocacy behavior is a function of role-making rather than strength of social network ties. Managerial implications of the study findings are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5 - 18
JournalJournal of Selling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


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