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 is concentrated in two areas, strategic marketing and customer satisfaction & loyalty. His courses make heavy use of experiential learning methods, particularly the case method. Dr. Westbrook has received numerous awards and recognition for teaching over his career, the most recent of which is the 2013 Jones School Award for Teaching Excellence in the EMBA Program. He is a Fellow in the Rice Center for Teaching Excellence.
Dr. Westbrook served as Associate Dean of Faculty of the Jones School during its period of growth and national recognition under the leadership of Dean Gilbert R. Whitaker, Jr. (1997-2003). As Associate Dean, he was responsible for faculty recruiting, development and retention, in addition to faculty research and teaching. At the same time, he also served as Associate Dean for the Rice MBA Program. In the latter capacity he led a re-design the MBA curriculum and created the acclaimed Action Learning Program (ALP).
Prior to Rice, Westbrook was a faculty member of 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, and was subsequently was employed as a senior staff researcher in the marketing and political research industry. He returned to the University of Michigan for his Ph.D. in Business Administration (concentration in Marketing. His doctoral dissertation on customer experience and satisfaction was one of the pioneering academic studies on the topic.
Dr. Westbrook’s scholarship has examined a wide range of issues in marketing, retailing, customer behavior and applied psychology. He has published nearly 50 articles in the leading academic journals in these fields and others. Most of his writing has focused on customer satisfaction and experience, where his research has been highly influential in shaping current thought and practice. 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.
Dr. Westbrook has advised leading firms in many industries, including those in industrial & commercial services, shipping & transportation, financial services, computing, automobiles, consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, retailing, among others. He has also assisted the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in its actions to protect consumers. He has been qualified as an expert and testified in both Federal and state district courts.
His present interests include the measurement and understanding of customer experience, customer satisfaction and loyalty. He also studies in the use of customer experience metrics as indicators of business performance and drivers of organizational effectiveness.