Dr. Robert A. Westbrook is the William Alexander Kirkland Professor of Business in the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business of Rice University. He has been a full-time member of the Marketing faculty group in the Jones School since 1989.
His teaching focuses in two areas, strategic marketing and customer satisfaction & loyalty. His students know him for his case method teaching, and he has received numerous awards and recognition over his career.
Dr. Westbrook served as Associate Dean of Faculty of the Jones School during its era of growth under Dean Gilbert R. Whitaker, Jr. between 1997 and 2003. As Associate Dean, he was responsible for faculty recruiting, development and retention, in addition to overseeing faculty research and teaching. He also served at the same time as Associate Dean for the Rice MBA Program, and was responsible for redesigning the MBA curriculum and the Jones School Action Learning Program (ALP).
Prior to Rice, he taught at the Fuqua Business School of Duke University (1975-78) and the Eller School of Management at the University of Arizona (1978-1989).
Dr. Westbrook received his A.B. with Distinction at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan in Honors Psychology, and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his MBA with High Distinction, also at the University of Michigan, followed by several years in the marketing and political research industry. He returned to the University of Michigan for his Ph.D. in Business Administration (Marketing), and his doctoral dissertation on customer experience and satisfaction was one of the first academic studies on the topic.
Dr. Westbrook’s scholarship has examined a wide range of issues in the fields of marketing, retailing and customer behavior, and he has published over 40 articles in the leading academic journals in these fields. Most of his writing has focused on customer satisfaction and experience, where his research has been influential in shaping current thought. He has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Marketing, the leading scholarly journal in his field, and the Journal of Consumer Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, a specialty journal devoted to his primary research area.
His present interests include the measurement and understanding of customer experience, including customer satisfaction and loyalty. He is also interested in the use of customer experience metrics as indicators of business performance and drivers of organizational effectiveness, including customer focus.
My academic discipline of marketing seeks to describe and explain market exchanges between buyers and sellers. As a result, my research concerns both buyers and sellers. From the buyer’s side, I am interested in understanding the nature of customer experiences with goods and services, and with the marketplace from which they are acquired. Included within this scope are customer satisfaction and loyalty, customer complaining and repurchase behavior, and customer emotional responses to consumption and markets.
From the seller’s side, I am interested in how organizations acquire and apply knowledge of customers in their marketing and operating decisions. This arena includes how management conceptualizes customer experience, satisfaction & loyalty, how organizations measure and monitor customer experience, satisfaction & loyalty, and how organizations absorb and deploy knowledge of customers in developing marketing strategies.