Interview with Rod Brodie was conducted by Linda Nasr
What attracted you to marketing/service research as a discipline of study?
My Bachelor and Master degrees were in Economics and on the strength of those I was offered a job to teach Marketing and Consumer Behaviour. I thought that would easy seeing I knew a lot about micro economics and demand theory. As I got involved I discovered there was much more to Marketing. I enjoyed the theory practice interface which was lacking in Economics. Back in the 1970s economics was very abstract and mathematical and practical issues were not seen as a priority.
After I completed my Post Doc in the US at the Krannert School of Management is the early 1980s I met Roland Rust. While we were out jogging he expounded on his visionary ideas about Service not Services g. After some resistance, I saw the light and this has led to great opportunities.
What surprises/obstacles did you experience in your early career? How did you address them?
I did my PhD in the old fashioned Oxbridge system which did not involve course work. Thus I had to take on the responsibility to educate myself. When I was at Krannert School of Management I sat in on some excellent PhD courses with Frank Bass and other professors. I have found the senior people in my field very helpful in offering advice.
What has been your most memorable publication?
Rather than just memorable publications, I think of memorable streams of research which involve working in teams of talented people. These streams of research are characterized by key publications which go through challenging review process but end up being highly cited.
When I finished my PhD in 1984 published a paper on market share models in JMR which lead to a stream of highly cited research in Marketing Science and Forecasting.
Together with Nicole Coviello we submitted a challenging paper about Contemporary Marketing Practice to JM in 2002. It was accepted after 4 rounds. In the 3rd round, the editor said a non-negotiable condition was to include a sample US companies even though we had a sample of Canadian companies. This paper has had very high citations as have other papers on this topic with a team of international researchers.
More recently my publications on customer engagements have led to an international stream of research with the first book on Customer Engagement and a number of Special Issues of journals. Key publications the 2011 JSR paper (which is the 5th most highly cited article within 4 years of publication) and the 2013 publication has just reached number 3.
Is there a contribution that makes you feel proud?
I am proud of my highly cited papers especially when we get cited more that papers in the elite US journals. I am especially proud of the team of talented people I work with that lead to these publications. It’s all about team work and we are changing the nature of our discipline.
I am also proud of founding the Australia New Zealand Marketing Academy (AZMAC) which I based on the EMAC model. Over 20 years later it is a vibrant community of scholars with strong local and international networks.
I am also very pleased with the success of the Journal of Service Research and Marketing Theory. I have been with these journals from the start in the late 1990s and currently associate editor for both journals. As newly established journals they are both having major influences and challenging the more established journals.
Was there a pivotal moment or key person in your career?
There have been a number of people including Roland Rust, Scott Armstrong, Arch Woodside, Christian Gronroos, Evert Gummesson and more recently Bob Lusch and Steve Vargo who have provided opportunities.
How do you pick research partners and/or co-authors?
I have s been both intuitive and opportunistic when connecting with co-authors. I tend to be the big picture person and try and work in teams with people who have other capabilities to bring things together. A key consideration is forming teams where there is high level of trust and also where we enjoy each other’s company.
What current trends in marketing/service research do you find fascinating?
Last year gave keynote presentation “Challenges for Marketing in the Contemporary Business Environment”. The theme was based on the recent discussion about the 4th Industrial Revolution. This new technological revolution will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. What makes the 4th Industrial Revolution distinct from the previous 3rd Industrial Revolution, which saw electronics and information technology to automate production, is its velocity, scope and systems impact.
How do you envision the future of our service research field?
Service research based on the meta-theoretical lens of S-D logic and Service Science provides the framing that is needed to realize the potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
What is your go to relax after a challenging day or at the end of a challenging project?
Long walks or swimming followed by good wine and food and stimulating company. Also music and reading.
If you had not gone into marketing/academia, what would have been your alternative career?
I would be open to anything that involves working with talented people whose company I enjoy where could offer leadership to make things happen.
What about you surprises new students and/or colleagues?
The academic game is getting much tougher than when I start in the 1970s -80s. I am impressed with the talent of the new students coming through and it is a pleasure to work with them. It keeps me young.
Roderick J. Brodie is Professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His 200 plus publications include leading international journals articles. He is an associate editor for Marketing Theory and the Journal of Service Research and has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Marketing, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, and the Journal of Academy of Marketing Science. He is a pioneer in Marketing Education in Australasia and internationally. In 1998 he became the founding president of the Australia New Zealand Marketing Academy. He has held visiting professorships at a number of leading US and European Business Schools.