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When and How Board Members with Marketing Experience Facilitate Firm Growth

When and How Board Members with Marketing Experience Facilitate Firm Growth

Kimberly A. Whitler, Ryan Krause and Donald R. Lehmann

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Board members with marketing experience are positively associated with firm revenue growth.

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Related Marketing Courses: ​
Principles, Core, and Intro to Marketing Mgmt; Marketing Strategy;​​​​ ​​​​

Full Citation: ​
Whitler, Kimberly A., Ryan Krause, and Donald Rd. Lehmann (2018), “When and How Board Members with Marketing Experience Facilitate Firm Growth,” Journal of Marketing, 82 (5), 86-105.

Article Abstract
Scholars have expressed concern that marketing’s influence at the strategic levels of the firm is waning. Consistent with this view, only 2.6% of all board-of-director members have marketing experience. The authors suggest this is short-sighted and that including more marketing-experienced board members (MEBMs) will increase firm growth by (1) helping firms prioritize growth as a strategic objective and (2) contributing their expertise to improve the effectiveness of revenue growth strategies. Drawing on the behavioral model of corporate governance, the authors develop a theoretical framework explicating the situational, dispositional, and structural influence moderators that alter the impact of MEBM on firm growth. Using 64,086 director biographies from Standard & Poor’s 1500 firms, the authors finds that MEBMs positively affect firm-level revenue growth and that this relationship is strengthened or weakened by important contingencies that occur in the firm. The findings suggest that the common practice of not including experienced marketers on boards of directors puts firms at a competitive disadvantage.


Special thanks to Kelley Gullo and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program.

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Kimberly A. Whitler is Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.

Ryan Krause is Associate Professor, Department of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership, Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University.

Donald R. Lehmann is George E. Warren Professor of Business and Chair of the Marketing Department, Columbia University, USA.