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C.B. Bhattacharya

Professor/Everett W. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar
Phone: (617)353-5710
Fax: (617)353-4098
Office: 663
By Appointment
Address: Boston University Questrom School of Business
595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Profile Summary

  • C.B. Bhattacharya, Boston University

    Dr. Bhattacharya received his Ph.D. in Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in 1984. Before joining Boston University, he was on the faculty at the Goizueta Business School, Emory University. Prior to his Ph.D., he worked for three years as a Product Manager in Reckitt Benkiser plc.

    His expertise is in the area of marketing strategy innovation and stakeholder marketing. He believes that in today’s environment, companies need to go “beyond the 4P’s” and use levers such as corporate and brand identity, membership and brand communities, and corporate social responsibility to strengthen stakeholder relationships. Recognizing the impact he created in the field through a series of conferences on corporate social responsibility he hosted at Boston University, UC Berkeley and the London Business School and his expertise in this area, the Aspen Institute recently appointed him as Faculty Director of a new initiative called the “Stakeholder Marketing Consortium.” A very select group of academics and practitioners convened in Aspen in September 2007 to brainstorm the critical research issues in this area.

    Dr. Bhattacharya has served on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Marketing and Corporate Reputation Review and has also served as Editor of special issues of California Management Review, Journal of Business Research and Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. He has published numerous articles in journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science, and many other journals. C.B won the William Novelli best paper award at the Social Marketing Conference in 1997 and the .2001 Broderick Prize for Research Excellence at Boston University. He was a finalist for the 2007 Faculty Pioneer Awards given by the Aspen Institute. In recognition of his research impact and productivity, he is currently a “Deans Research Fellow” at Boston University.

    On the teaching front, C.B. received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995, the highest teaching award at Emory University. He is also part of the select group of faculty that has made it twice on Business Week’s Outstanding Faculty list. He has secured in excess of $500,000 in competitive research grants and conducted research for many organizations such as AT&T, Eli Lilly, General Mills, Green Mountain Coffee, High Museum of Art, Hitachi Corporation, Procter & Gamble Company, Prudential Bank and Timberland.

    C.B. is often interviewed and quoted in publications such as Business Week, The New York Times and The Economist and on TV stations such as CBS, PBS and NECN. He also frequently delivers keynote talks at company and industry conventions. Click on the links below to see some short snippets of his talks.

    (Keynote speech at General Mills Headquarters in Minneapolis, January 2005)

    (Keynote speech at The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association's annual international conference at The Hague, Netherlands, September 2006).

    (Keynote speech at the WILD International Convention, Heidelberg, Germany, September 2007).



The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Marketing1993

University of Pennsylvania

Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad)
M.B.A., Marketing1984


Selected Publications



"Strengthening Stakeholder-Company Relationships Through Mutually Beneficial Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives" Journal of Business Ethics (2009)Forthcoming
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to gain attention atop the corporate agenda and is by now an important component of the dialogue between companies and their stakeholders. Nevertheless, there is still little guidance as to how companies can implement CSR activity in order to maximize returns to CSR investment. Borrowing from the literatures on means-end chains and relationship marketing, we propose a conceptual model that explains how CSR provides individual stakeholders with numerous benefits (functional, psychosocial, and values) and how the type and extent to which a stakeholder derives these benefits from CSR initiatives influences the quality of the relationship between the stakeholder and the company.
See Article
"The Debate Over Doing Good: Corporate Social Performance, Strategic Marketing Levers and Firm Idiosyncratic Risk " Journal of Marketing (2009)Forthcoming
Marketers and investors face a hot, provocative debate on whether excelling in social responsibility initiatives hurts or benefits firms financially. This study develops a theoretical framework which predicts (1) the impact of corporate social performance (CSP) on firm-idiosyncratic risk and (2) the role of two strategic marketing levers, advertising and R&D, in explaining the variability of this impact among different firms. The results show that higher CSP lowers undesirable firm-idiosyncratic risk. Interestingly, while the salutary impact of CSP is greater in firms with higher (vs. lower) advertising, a simultaneous chase for CSP, advertising, and R&D is harmful with increased firm-idiosyncratic risk. For theory, we advance the literature on the marketing-finance interface by drawing attention to the risk-reduction potential of CSP and by shedding new light on some critical but neglected role of strategic marketing levers. We also extend CSP research by moving away from the long-fought battle for universal impact of CSP toward a finer-grained understanding of when some firms derive more risk-reduction benefits from CSP. For practice, the results indicate that the “goodwill refund” of CSP is not unconditional.
See Article
"Using Corporate Social Responsibility to Win the War for Talent" MIT Sloan Management Review 49 (2) (Winter 2008)37-44
This article draws on recent studies to confirm that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can yield substantial returns for both employees and the company. The research demonstrates that CSR initiatives can fulfill employees' needs and motivate them to identify strongly with their employers. The article portrays the challenges that companies face in making the most of their CSR strategies internally. The authors then recommend five practical steps that can help business leaders increase CSR's effectiveness as a lever for talent management, acquisition, and retention.
See Article
"Stakeholder Marketing: Beyond the 4P's and the Customer" Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 27 (1) (Spring 2008)113-116
There is an urgent need for new research that looks beyond customers as the target of marketing activities and firms as the primary intended beneficiary to understand the impact of marketing activities on a host of other actors. A consortium of leading scholars and practitioners was convened to discuss how adopting a stakeholder perspective gives birth to a host of interesting research questions that are relevant to the broader academic community. This article synthesizes the key themes from this meeting and invites scholars to submit papers on these issues for publication consideration in a special issue of the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing on Stakeholder Marketing.
See Article
"Exploring the Social and Business Returns of a Corporate Oral Health Initiative Aimed at Disadvantaged Hispanic Families" Journal of Consumer Research (2008)Forthcoming
This research investigates the impact of a corporate oral health initiative aimed at disadvantaged Hispanic families, especially the children. We find that the initiative promotes oral health behaviors only among less acculturated families. Moreover, it does so by both enhancing participant children’s beliefs about the physical and psychosocial benefits of oral health behaviors as well as strengthening the link between the psychosocial beliefs and behaviors. We also find that when parents of the participant children believe the program has been beneficial to them, they are willing to engage in reciprocal behaviors such as purchasing and supporting the corporate sponsor’s products.
See Article
"Reaping Relational Rewards from Corporate Social Responsibility: The Role of Competitive Positioning" International Journal of Research in Marketing 24 (3) (2007)224-241
This research examines the moderating influence of the extent to which a brand’s social initiatives are integrated into its competitive positioning (i.e., a CSR positioning) on consumer reactions to CSR. We find that positive CSR beliefs held by consumers are associated not only with greater purchase likelihood but also with longer-term loyalty and advocacy behaviors. More importantly, we find that not all CSR initiatives are created equal: a brand that positions itself on CSR, integrating its CSR strategy with its core business strategy, is more likely than brands that merely engage in CSR to reap a range of CSR-specific benefits in the consumer domain.
See Article
"Corporate Social Responsibility, Customer Satisfaction and Market Value" Journal of Marketing 70 (4) (October 2006)1-17
Although prior research has addressed the influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on perceived customer responses, it is not clear whether CSR affects market value of the firm. This study develops and tests a conceptual framework, which predicts that (1) customer satisfaction partially mediates the relationship between CSR and firm market value (i.e., Tobin’s q and stock return), (2) corporate abilities (innovativeness capability and product quality) moderate the financial returns to CSR, and (3) these moderated relationships are mediated by customer satisfaction. Based on a large-scale secondary dataset, the results show support for this framework. Interestingly, it is found that in firms with low innovativeness capability, CSR actually reduces customer satisfaction levels and, through the lowered satisfaction, harms market value. The uncovered mediated and asymmetrically moderated results offer important implications for marketing theory and practice.
See Article
"The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Strengthening Multiple Stakeholder Relationships: A Field Experiment" Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (2006)
This research relied on a field experiment involving a realworld instance of corporate philanthropy to shed light on both the scope and limitations of the strategic returns to corporate social responsibility (CSR). In particular, the authors demonstrate that the impact of CSR in the real world is not only less pervasive than has been previously acknowledged but also more multifaceted than has been previously conceptualized. The findings indicated that contingent on CSR awareness, which was rather low, stakeholders did react positively to the focal company not only in the consumption domain but in the employment and investment domains as well. Stakeholder attributions regarding the genuineness of the company’s motives moderated these effects.
See Article
"Antecedents and Consequences of Customer-Company Identification: Expanding the Scope of Relationship Marketing" Journal of Applied Psychology 90 (3) (2005)574-585
This paper presents an empirical test of organizational identification in the context of customer-company relationships. It investigates whether or not customers do indeed identify with companies, and what the antecedents and consequences of such identification are. The model posits, given a certain set of context characteristics, that perceived company characteristics, construed external image, and the perception of the company’s boundary spanning agent lead to customer-company identification. In turn, such identification is expected to impact both in-role behavior (i.e., product utilization) as well as extra-role behavior (i.e., citizenship). The model was tested in a consultative selling context of pharmaceutical sales reps calling on physicians. Results from the empirical test indicated that customers do indeed identify with organizations and that customer-company identification positively impacts both product utilization behavior and extra-role behavior even when the effect of brand perception is accounted for. Second, the study found that the organization’s characteristics as well as the salesperson’s characteristics contributed to the development of customer-company identification.
See Article
"Doing Better at Doing Good: When, Why and How Consumers Respond to Corporate Social Initiatives" Calfornia Management Review (Fall 2004)Forthcoming
Although companies are devoting significant resources to CSR initiatives, insights into the optimal formulation, implementation and effectiveness estimation of CSR strategies are currently scant. In this article, we adopt a consumer-centric view of CSR to take an in-depth look at how, why and in what ways, from a consumer’s perspective, CSR works. In contrast to the simple, monotonic relationships between CSR and consumer purchase behavior evident in marketplace polls, we propose, based in part on our continued research in this domain, a more complex, contingent model of consumer responses to CSR, articulating both the internal (e.g., awareness, attitudes, attachment) and external (e.g., word of mouth, purchase, loyalty) outcomes of CSR initiatives, for not just the company but also the consumer, and the CSR issue/cause. We also delineate the key factors that are likely to moderate the extent to which the inputs lead to the internal outcomes, and the internal outcomes lead to the external ones. This framework can help guide companies in not only formulating and implementing their CSR initiatives but also measuring the effectiveness of these initiatives.
See Article
"Consumer-Company Identification: A Framework for Understanding Consumers' Relationships With Companies" Journal of Marketing  67 (2) (April 2003)76-88
While much research has focused on the consumer-brand relationship, the relationship between consumers and the companies they consume from remains understudied. However, consumers are increasingly affiliating with companies in a variety of consumption domains. This paper draws on extant concepts of social identity theory and organizational identification to propose a conceptual framework and advance propositions regarding the antecedents and consequences of identification in the consumption realm. Our framework hinges on the premise that individuals frequently identify with organizations and companies are increasingly valid targets for such organizational identification.
See Article
"Us Versus Them: The Role of Organizational Identification and Disidentification in Social Marketing Initiatives" Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 21 (1) (Spring 2002)26-36
Whereas organizational identification is defined as a cognitive connection between a person and an organization, disidentification is defined as a sense of separateness. This study conducted a mail survey to compare the attitudes and behaviors of people who identify or disidentify with the National Rifle Association or view it in a neutral fashion. The results show that whereas identification is related to people's personal experiences, disidentification is related to their values surrounding the organization. Moreover, although both identifiers and disidentifers talk, only identifiers take action.
See Article
"Relating Brand and Customer Perspectives on Marketing Management" Journal of Service Research 5 (1) (August 2002)13-25
The article attempts to examine brand and customer perspectives in depth so that researchers and managers can improve their understanding and use of customer and brand perspectives on marketing. The article seeks to determine the relationship between the two assets and perspectives in terms of similarities and differences. The development of customer and brand perspectives are examined and how each adds value to the firm and its customers is described. Possible approaches for measuring marketing assets are delineated.
See Article
"Does Doing Good Always Lead to Doing Better? Consumer Reactions to Corporate Social Responsibility" Journal of Marketing Research 38 (2) (May 2001)225-243
In the face of marketplace polls that attest to the increasing influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on consumers' purchase behavior, an article examines when, how, and for whom specific CSR initiatives work. The findings implicate both company-specific factors, such as the CSR issues a company chooses to focus on and the quality of its products, the individual-specific factors, such as consumers' personal support for the CSR issues and their general beliefs about CSR, as key moderators of consumers' responses to CSR. The results also highlight the mediating role of consumers' responses to CSR initiatives. More specifically, it is found that CSR initiatives can, under certain conditions, decrease consumers'intentions to buy a company's products.
See Article
"Defining Who You Are By What You Are Not: A Study of Organizational Disidentification and the NRA" Organization Science 12 (4) (July 2001)393-413
Through 2 exploratory studies, an introductory framework of "organizational disidentification" is developed and tested. The first study explores the concept of organizational disidentification through a qualitative investigation of cognitive relationships with the National Rifle Association. Findings suggest that organizational disidentification is a self-perception based on: 1. a cognitive separation between one's identity and the organization's identity, and 2. a negative relational categorization of oneself and the organization. Organizational disidentification appears to be motivated by individuals' desires to both affirm positive distinctiveness and avoid negative distinctiveness by distancing themselves from incongruent values and negative stereotypes attributed to an organization. The findings also suggest that organizational disidentification can lead individuals to take action as a result of their perceived separation from the organization's identity. Results of the 2nd study - a large-scale survey of public attitudes about the NRA - provide support for this framework.
See Article
"Corporate Alliances as Social Marketing Tools" Social Marketing Quarterly 5 (3) (September 1999)10-14
"When Customers Are Members: Customer Retention in Paid Membership Contexts" Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 26 ( 1) (Winter 1998)31-44
How members' characteristics relate to lapsing behavior in paid membership contexts is examined. Literatures such as social identity theory are used to propose hypotheses that are tested using a hazard rate model on archival data pertaining to 7,798 members of an art museum. The results indicate that the hazard of lapsing is lowered with increasing duration, participation in special interest groups whose goals are related to those of the focal organizations, gift frequency, and increasing interrenewal times. Conversely, members who have downgraded their membership level in the past, those who have participated in special interest groups whose goals are unrelated to those of the focal organization, and those who received their membership as a gift are more likely to lapse.
"The Individual and the Organization: The Roles of Identification and Disidentification in Consumer Behavior" European Advances in Consumer Research 3 (1998)42-43
"The Individual, The Company and the Product: The Role of Organizational Identification in Consumer Behavior" Advances in Consumer Research 25 (1998)54
"Is Your Brand's Loyalty Too Much, Too Little or Just Right? Explaining Deviations in Loyalty from the Dirichlet Norm" International Journal of Research in Marketing 14 (5) (December 1997)421-435
A study investigates the factors that relate to the deviations of brands' actual loyalty levels from theoretical norms in packaged goods markets.An aggregate measure of brand loyalty, share of category requirements, commonly tracked by marketing managers is used for this analysis. The comparison is conducted against the estimated share of requirements provided by the well established Dirichlet model of purchasing behavior. The study posits that a brand's positioning strategy and marketing mix can influence the magnitude and the direction of the deviation from the norm. The study finds that, on average, brands that cater to some market niche are bought in higher quantities, have lower prices, promote to a lesser extent, and have shallower price-cuts and enjoy higher than expected loyalty levels. Possible implications of these results are discussed and guidelines that managers can use to better assess both the actual and the theoretical loyalty levels of their brands are offered.
"The Individual and the Organization: The Roles of Organization and Disidentification in Social Marketing" Innovations in Social Marketing Conference Proceedings (1997)1-3
"Art Museum Membership and Cultural Distinction: Relating Members' Perceptions of Prestige to Benefit Usage" Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Literature, Media and the Arts 24 (2-4) (November 1996)259-274
We explore members' perceptions about museum membership and relate these to the usage frequency of two important membership benefits: free admission and special events invitations. We argue that the purchase of art museum membership represents the acquisition of cultural capital for the member. Complementing existing sociological theories that associate arts consumption with the elite, we investigate how individuals' perceptions of the prestige associated with membership affect the frequency of benefit usage. Controlling for demographic and membership characteristics, we found benefit usage was more frequent for members who viewed membership as a source of high prestige and who tended to participate in other "highbrow" art forms. Implications of these findings for theories of cultural capital and museum practice are discussed.
"The Relationship Between the Marketing Mix and Share of Requirements" Marketing Letters 7 (1) (January 1996)5-18
An alleged criticism of purchase-based brand loyalty measures is that they are confounded by the marketing mix variables that affect brand choice. This paper investigates the magnitude and direction of the associations for an aggregate measure of brand loyalty commonly used by marketing managers. This measure, share of category requirements (SCR), is defined as each brand's market share among the group of households who bought the brand at least once during the time period under consideration. We discuss the theoretical foundations for the relationships between SCR and a set of marketing mix variables (price, promotions, retail distribution), and conduct a latent structure regression analysis of brand-level data to test these relationships. We find that, although the relationship between the marketing mix variables and SCR is statistically significant, in real terms, the magnitude of such association is fairly low.
"Instilling Social Responsibility Through Marketing Research Field Projects" Marketing Education Review 6 (2) (1996)23-31
Although both educators and business leaders have stressed that business students need to be trained in social responsibility, until now, such training has mostly been restricted to courses in business ethics. In this paper we describe a more "hands-on" approach that synergistically combines aspects of classroom learning, real world experience and social responsibility. Currently, the effort is restricted to the traditional marketing research course, and it involves conducting a semester long field projects to solve "real" management problems for nonprofit organizations that deal with social causes. We propose a conceptual framework to establish the need for such a pedagogic innovation, discuss the procedures followed with regard to the field projects and finish with a discussion of the benefits and obstacles of such a course to various constituencies.
See Article
"Understanding the Bond of Identification: An Investigation of Its Correlates Among Art Museum Members" Journal of Marketing 59 (4) (October 1995)46-57
It is proposed that customers identify with organizations. A social identity theory is used to propose and test a model that relates members'(customers) identification with the focal organization to : 1. organizational and product characteristics, 2. members' affiliation characteristics, and 3. members' activity characteristics. The empirical setting consists of the members of an art museum. The survey findings show the members' identification is positively related to perceived organizational prestige, donating activity, tenure of membership, visiting frequency, and confirmation of member expectations with the organization's services. However, members' participation in similar organizations is negatively related to identification with the focal organization. It is discussed how this study can be extended to other marketing contexts and how managers can use the notion of identification in implementing marketing strategies.
See Article
"An Advertising Evaluation System for Retailers" Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 1 ( 2) (October 1994)90-100


"Towards a System for Monitoring Brand Health" Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series (00-111) (July 2000)
In recent years there have been growing references to measures that reflect the "health" of a brand. The overall goal of this research is to define brand health and suggest indicators for measuring it. Using established notions of health found in the epidemiology literature, we develop a conceptual framework that outlines two dimensions of brand health: "current wellbeing" and "resistance." We propose operational definitions for each dimension, ascertain the suitability of existing measures for belonging to either dimension of health and propose two new indicators One of the new indicators is the first operationalization of Kevin Keller's construct of "customer base brand equity". Our empirical application is in the realm of store scanner data widely used by packaged goods companies. We use longitudinal, store-week data for the pain reliever and stomach remedies product categories to estimate a number of brand health indicators. We establish the dimensionality of brand health through a factor analysis, and, in accordance with our expectations, find brand health to be multidimensional in nature. We establish the reliability and validity of the new measures through a variety of tests, and in particular, show that our proposed resistance indicator is able to predict the share loss that is suffered by the existing brands in the category in the event of a new product introduction.
"Relationship Marketing in Mass Markets" Handbook of Relationship Marketing (2000)327-354
"A Comparison of the Antecedents and Consequences of Organizational Identification versus Disidentification" Proceedings of the Third Research Conference on Relationship Marketing (1996)255-256


"Is Your Brand Healthy?" The Manager (Spring 1999)24-25
"Teach Them Well" Atlanta Journal and Constitution (November 1995)Editorial Section


Global Challenges in Responsible Business  Cambridge University Press, 2009



"Relationship Marketing in Mass Markets"  In Handbook of Relationship Marketing Edited by Jagdish N. Sheth and Atul Parvatiyar Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,  2000


Teaching Cases

Rob, the CEO of RateItAll, had initiated the Advisory Board meeting to gather input on the company's strategic direction. Along with his management team, he was leaning towards focusing on the B2B market and aggressively pursuing the company's mission of helping other companies integrate user-driven opinion-sharing into their own Web sites. The Advisory Board members disagreed about the focus the company ought to adopt. Andy Connor, a professional investor; and Brad Lips, a co-founder of RateItAll, felt strongly that the company should maintain its initial focus on being a destination ratings site (i.e., B2C). Needless to say, each of these alternate strategies brought with them a different set of implementation issues, as well as questions about the amount of financial resources RateItAll needed to mobilize from the venture capital market. The RateItAll management team knew it had an excellent product. But the market for Internet companies was changing dramatically, and the company's success rested on the decisions they were about to make.


Professional Activities


Academic Positions

  • 1998-present, Associate Professor of Marketing, Boston University
  • 1992-1998, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University

Nonacademic Positions

  • 1984-1987, Product Manager, Reckitt Benkiser plc.

Board Memberships

  • Journal of Marketing Editorial Review Board, 2002-2005
  • Corporate Reputation Review, Editorial Review Board, 2006-

Honors & Awards

  • Broderick Prize for Excellence in Research, Questrom School of Business, Boston University, 2001. Selected by the Faculty of the Questrom School of Business
  • Program Chair, Innovations in Social Marketing Conference, June 3-5, 2001, Washington D.C., and Guest Editor, Social Marketing Quarterly, Fall 2001.
  • William Novelli Best Paper Award, 1997, Innovations in Social Marketing Conference, Boston.
  • Emory University Teaching Initiative, 1997. $10,000 awarded for development of new marketing elective, "Advanced Study Projects in Marketing"
  • Listed among Outstanding Faculty, Goizueta Business School, Emory University, in Business Week's Guide to The Best Business Schools (1997 and 1998).
  • Exceptional Scholar Award, Emory University, 1996.
  • The Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, 1995. Highest teaching award conferred by Emory University.
  • Invited Keynote Address at Ford Foundation Annual Meeting, June 2003
  • Hitachi Corporation Grant, 2003. $35,000 awarded for project on “Measuring Effectiveness of Corporate Social Initiatives: A Customer-Centric Perspective”
  • Procter & Gamble Grant, 2004. $316,000 awarded for project on "Measuring Returns to Corporate Social Initiatives"
  • Faculty Director, “Stakeholder Marketing Consortium.” Elected by Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, 2007
  • Finalist, Faculty Pioneer Awards, The Aspen Institute
  • Dean's Research Fellow, Boston University Questrom School of Business