market-based assets, customer relationships, marketing alliances, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, stock returns


The accountability of marketing investments continues to be a key area of concern for researchers and practitioners (MSI Research Priorities, 2008). In particular, market-based assets, specifically customer relationships, and their potential impact on firm performance are a significant source of interest. Though research in this area continues to grow, little is understood about how investments in human capital and the acquisition of alliance partners through factor markets relate to customer relationship management and the impact of customer relationships on performance. This dissertation presents two studies which, together, investigate how investments in market-based assets influence on abnormal stock returns. In the first study, the resource-based view of the firm (Barney 1991) is used to posit several hypotheses related to investments in human capital. The hypotheses are tested using ten years of data from the U.S. airline industry and analyzed using a mixed-effects methodology. Results indicate that investments in customer service personnel impact abnormal stock returns through their impact on customer relationships. Moreover, these investments tend to have decreasing returns in terms of their impact on customer relationships, and the relative strength of this relationship is shown to be contingent upon a firm's service delivery capabilities, advertising expenditures, and operating focus. This study helps clarify how market-based assets are managed, how investments in specific resources used to manage them relate to stock returns, and why the same dollar invested in human capital by different firms can lead to different levels of returns. The second study also takes a resource-based view of the firm and the management of market-based assets. From this perspective, alliances are considered as external resources acquired in strategic factor markets (Barney 1986) for the purpose of complimenting a focal firm's strategy and performance. This study investigates the long-term impact of alternative types of alliances and the potential impact of alliance partners' customer relationship management capabilities on a focal firms' performance. Just as in study one, ten years of U.S. airline data are used, and a mixed-effects methodology is implemented to test hypotheses. Results indicate that the direct benefits of horizontal marketing alliances tend to be positive, but dependent upon the extensiveness of the alliance. Furthermore, it is revealed that the impact of a partner's customer relationship management capabilities on a focal firm's performance is contingent upon whether the partner's capabilities are similar or dissimilar relative to the focal firm. In short, results indicate that when differences exist, the positive impact of a focal firm's customer relationship management capabilities can be reduced to almost zero if that firm allies with a less competent partner. Taken together, these studies tend to suggest that firms which learn to successfully manage investments in customer relationships may risk nullifying expected positive returns if they simultaneously select alliance partners which are less successful at managing such investments. Similarly, firms which are not able to improve their own management of customer relationships can potentially limit the potential negative consequences by allying with more able firms. In all, this dissertation helps address the accountability issue for marketers.


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Graduation Date



Echambadi, Raj


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration



Degree Program

Business Administration








Release Date

September 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Marketing Commons