The impact of boards of directors on chief marketing officer performance: Framing and research agenda

Kimberly A. Whitler, Ben Lee, Sarah Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Firm leaders expect their chief marketing officers (CMOs) to have significant impact on firm performance, and boards of directors (boards) consider marketing-related issues critical board-level priorities. Despite the importance of marketers and marketing to firm outcomes, boards do not appear to value CMOs at the strategy-setting level of the firm as they rarely include CMOs in board discussions and deliberations. The disconnect between the importance of marketing and the marginalization of marketers at the board level prompts the following question: How and in what ways may boards impact CMO performance? This research includes two reviews of the extant literature (from 1984 through 2021): (1) board impact on CMOs, and (2) board impact on the satisfaction, performance, and outcomes of the broader top management team (TMT), including chief financial officers, chief information officers, chief operating officers, chief technology officers, and chief strategy officers. We find that only four articles investigate the impact of boards on any functional TMT member’s performance and that none specifically consider how the board may impact CMO satisfaction, performance, and outcomes. Given the lack of research, we create a conceptual framework that links board characteristics to CMO outcomes and develop a research agenda with over 50 questions as the basis to develop scholarship. Importantly, this research highlights the paucity of insight regarding board-level influence on any functional TMT member, including the CMO. Consequently, the model and research agenda can benefit multiple disciplines including marketing, finance, information technology, operations, management, and human resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-136
Number of pages21
JournalAMS Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing


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