Marketing doctrine: A principles-based approach to guiding marketing decision making in firms

Goutam Challagalla, Brian R. Murtha, Bernard Jaworski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The authors introduce and examine a new marketing concept that a small set of leading firms has begun to adopt: marketing doctrine. Marketing doctrine refers to a firm's unique principles, distilled from its experiences, which provide firm-wide guidance on market-facing choices. As such, marketing doctrine provides a firm-wide common approach to decision making. Importantly, marketing doctrine helps a firm address the classic consistency-flexibility conundrum by providing high-level guidance to all decision makers in the firm (thus ensuring consistency) but not specifying execution details (thus allowing for local flexibility). Across three samples, the authors explore the concept using a discovery-oriented, theories-in-use approach with 35 executives from several industries. This article makes four contributions. First, it offers a parsimonious definition of the marketing doctrine construct and contrasts it with related constructs. Second, it offers insight into how firms can develop marketing doctrine. Third, it develops a conceptual model that identifies the antecedents and consequences of marketing doctrine use. Finally, the authors explore the moderating effects of three unpredictable environments (competitive intensity, market turbulence, and structural flux) on the marketing doctrine use-performance relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014


  • Common marketing approach
  • Decision-making consistency
  • Marketing decision making
  • Marketing doctrine
  • Principles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Marketing doctrine: A principles-based approach to guiding marketing decision making in firms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this