Upper echelons research in marketing

Kimberly A. Whitler, Ben Lee, Ryan Krause, Neil A. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Marketing scholars have recently embraced the study of the corporate upper echelons—the executives and board members atop the organizational hierarchy. However, management scholars have researched the upper echelons for decades, with frequent forays into the marketing strategy domain. As a result of progressing in two separate disciplines, the literature on marketing strategy and the upper echelons is fragmented and disjointed. We develop an organizing framework to review extant research and assess and synthesize the knowledge in the upper echelons marketing strategy domain. Our review covers the 14 most influential marketing and management journals from 1984 through February, 2020. Given the relative newness of this research within marketing, we develop a conceptual model fusing existing theory in the upper echelons and marketing strategy literatures, and use this to identify key blind spots and underdeveloped areas of knowledge caused by the two fields’ independent evolutions. Finally, we also examine challenges associated with conducting research in this area and provide recommendations to help researchers and reviewers navigate these challenges to advance theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-219
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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