Marketing Professor Honored for Research

Dr. Robert Morgan, associate professor of marketing in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, has the distinction of co-authoring what is now the most frequently cited article of all the articles published in business and economic journals that Thomson ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) monitors.

Every two months ISI publishes a list of the articles that have been the most frequently referenced in other articles for the past decade, and Morgan’s tops the list. The article, “The Relationship Commitment and Trust Theory of Relationship Marketing,” appeared in the July 1994 issue of the Journal of Marketing and was co-authored by Dr. Shelby Hunt of Texas Tech University.

morganHunt was Morgan’s advisor and mentor while Morgan was at TTU earning his doctorate, and together the two developed an article from Morgan’s dissertation. Morgan is pleased with the feedback his article has received, but is quick to point out that authoring the article wasn’t a solo project.

“It’s very humbling. I was one of two authors, but we built on the things others had done, and I feel we did a good job of tying things together and testing things in ways they haven’t been tested before,” Morgan said.

Thomson ISI is an international company that monitors 187 business and economic journals; more than 7 million researchers use the services ISI provides.

Morgan believes his and Hunt’s accomplishment says something about the kind of top-notch research public universities can produce. “The top 20 articles are typically from Ivy League schools, Stanford, the University of Michigan and other prestigious schools. Researchers from UA can make these kinds of contributions, and we would like the national spotlight of attention for the University [that it brings],” Morgan said.

Morgan believes part of the reason for the paper’s overwhelming success and popularity is due to the fact that, unlike some other academic writings, his and Hunt’s has practical, everyday applications. Often, his colleagues will return from national conferences they attended and tell him the paper was mentioned, testament to the widespread appeal for the material covered in the article.

“Academics have a reputation, deserved or not, for writing about issues that have few practical implications. In the case of this paper, in addition to its broad impact on other academics, there is strong evidence to support the contention that it has had a strong impact on managers and executives as well,” Morgan said.