Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Management, Operations and Marketing


Despite remarkable advancements in new technology in the past century, highly trained experts continue to make avoidable errors: planes crash, buildings collapse, trains collide and marketing units make bad decisions when selecting segments for targeting. Cross-functional teams are brought together in the hope that a range of different views will help to improve project outcome. Despite the extensive knowledge brought together in cross-functional teams, experts continue to make mistakes. Many disciplines have taken action and implemented simple and easy to use checklist, which have, despite their simplicity, significantly improved team performance. Checklists have successfully helped pilots during emergency landings, guided staff during complex medical procedures, and coordinated activities of different contractors when building skyscrapers. Despite the demonstrated usefulness in other disciplines, marketers to date have not explored the potential of checklists. While marketing textbooks do recommend the use of checklists, it remains unclear how exactly to develop and operationalise them and there is virtually no evidence of them being used in marketing practise. The aim of this research is to test, for the first time, the usefulness of checklists in a marketing management context and to gain insight into relevant parameters for checklist design. First, targeting practices in 223 US firms are investigated by surveying marketing managers. Checklist usage and its association with performance outcomes are assessed. Managerial preference for targeting checklists is also investigated. Using insights from the manager survey, the characteristics and properties of alternative types of targeting checklists are then compared in an experiment using 430 business students. Teams of three students had to make targeting decisions in the StratsimMarketing simulation, using one of three types of checklist developed for this study. Results from the manager survey indicate that using checklists, or similar structured processes, is associated with higher segmentation (+27%), innovation (+26%), and business (+7%) performance. In the experiment, checklist usage significantly increased the number of inspected decision criteria when used by cross-functional teams, which in turn, prevented new product failure in the simulated market. Checklists do however have the potential to increase team coordination difficulties. In contrast with previous studies, findings from the current study indicate that discipline checklists have the potential to increase team coordination difficulties and thus defeating the purpose of their use. Adding a coordination step to discipline checklists does, however, significantly improve their usefulness. Teams with cross-functional roles – as opposed to conventional roles – performed better overall suggesting this may be the optimal team structure for solving complex tasks. A noteworthy finding from the manager study is that a segment assessment list developed by Lilien and Rangaswamy (2004) was found to be the most preferred list in literature.