Sustainable business expert joins School of Management

Eric Arnould has joined the School of Management as professor of marketing. He will be a member of the department’s influential marketing group where he will continue his leading research in sustainable business practice and consumer culture theory.

He has moved to Bath from the University of Wyoming where for four years he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Business Practice.

Speaking about his move he said: “Bath is the only business school in the UK that comes to mind for my research. I’ve known Professor Richard Elliott, Dean of the School of Management, for 15 years so there’s a trust factor there and I know some of my colleagues in the marketing research group by reputation.  A number of us are ploughing the same terrain and that’s always a nice thing.

“It’s attractive to come and work in Europe but it can be problematic from a practical point of view. The University is very ‘above board’, it has a straight up reputation and all the negotiations over my appointment have been very professional.”

Professor Arnould’s first main area of research, sustainable business practice, focuses on fair trade, demand-side energy use and sustainable agricultural production strategies.

He said: “Sustainable business practices aren’t very well developed in the marketing area. It may seem an oxymoronic relationship but it’s not my view.

“There’s an urgent need to understand the levers to individual and communal change in demand side energy management because of the UK’s ambitious carbon reduction targets.  The same is true in other developed economies.”

“I’m applying research to various schemes including economic incentives, persuasive messages and new technologies.”

Professor Arnould is writing a book with new insights into sustainable marketing practice which will benchmark what we know about sustainable marketing and consumption beyond the ideological.

His second major area of research is consumer culture theory. He said: “It’s about applying anthropological and sociological perspectives, to make sense of supply and demand relationships in the business world, in our market-mediated societies. I look at how layers of cultural practice impact on consumers and companies in both traditional and emerging alternative marketing channels, like the Internet and social media networks.”

Professor Richard Elliott, Dean of the University’s School of Management, said: “Professor Arnould is one of the world's leading scholars of socio-cultural approaches to consumer behaviour. He is a founder of consumer culture theory (CCT), which is now a major alternative to economic or psychological explanations, and his joining Bath makes us the strongest CCT research group in the world.”

From 2005 to 2007 Professor Arnould was the PETSMART Distinguished Professor of Retailing & Consumer Sciences at the University of Arizona. He was Professor of Marketing at the University of Nebraksa from 2000 to 2005. He has taught at the Universities of South Florida, California State University and the University of Colorado.

Before Professor Arnould began his academic career he worked as a consultant on natural resource management in West Africa. He began his work as a graduate student on a regional resource management planning project in the Niger Republic, later worked for several years as a social impact evaluator for the Planning Ministry in Niger, and followed on with work for a number of NGOs involved with agriculture, resource management and marketing projects throughout French-speaking West Africa. 

After a brief stint as a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Professor Arnould took a succession of positions in US business schools.

He studied anthropology at Bard College, Annandale, New York and completed an MA Anthropology and then a PhD in Social Anthropology and Archeaology at the University of Arizona.

Professor Arnould is one of 12 leading academics joining the University as part of a strategic investment in research and teaching excellence across all faculties and disciplines.

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