Robert Westbrook

William Alexander Kirkland Professor of Marketing

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 his primary scholarly interests, strategic marketing and customer experience, satisfaction & loyalty. His courses make heavy use of experiential learning methods, particularly the case method. Dr. Westbrook’s teaching has been recognized in numerous awards over his career, including the 2013 Jones School Award for Teaching Excellence in the Executive MBA Program. He was also a founding Fellow of the Rice Center for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Westbrook served as Associate Dean of Faculty of the Jones School during its expansion and national recognition under 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, and led the re-design the MBA curriculum. He also created the acclaimed Jones School Action Learning Program (ALP) in 1998.

Westbrook was previously a member of the faculties 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 did both his undergraduate and graduate study at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving an A.B. with Distinction in Honors Psychology, MBA with High Distinction, and Ph.D. in Business Administration (concentration in Marketing). He was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Following his MBA, he was employed as a senior staff researcher in two leading marketing research firms. His doctoral dissertation on customer experience and satisfaction was one of the first academic studies on the topic.

Westbrook’s scholarship has examined a wide range of issues in marketing, retailing, customer behavior and applied psychology. He has published over 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 in his primary research area.

Dr. Westbrook has served as a consultant to leading firms in many industries, including industrial & commercial services, shipping & transportation, financial services, computing, automobiles, consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, retailing, and publishing among others. He has also advised 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.

Teaching Interests: 

-Management of strategic marketing
-Qualitative research methods
-Customer analytics
-Strategic account management

Research Interests: 

-Strategic marketing
-Customer & patient experience
-Customer satisfaction
-Customer loyalty & retention
-Development of customer focus in organizations