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James Carman


James M. Carman

Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus




Professor Emeritus James Martin Carman of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley unexpectedly passed away on December 9, 2004, at the age of 73, from a side effect of prostate cancer treatment. Up until several weeks before his death, he was vigorously engaged in both academic and civic activities.

Professor Carman made contributions as a researcher, teacher, colleague, administrator, and by applying his expertise to help the community. His research and writing focused on the marketing of services, the delivery of health care, service quality, the regulation of marketing, and the statistical modeling of the impact of marketing programs. He was the author or coauthor of more than 60 articles in professional journals and contributed to 25 books.

He twice won the prestigious Charles Slater award given by the Journal of Macro Marketing, the first time for a series of articles on regulation with Professor Robert Harris, and the second in 2001 with Professor Luis V. Domingo on organizational transformations in the face of changing conditions.

Domingo noted that Carman “had qualities that few academics possess. He combined a keen intellect with active engagement in the ‘outside’ world. He possessed a vast knowledge of wide ranging subjects and he had an utter lack of fear of taking a position contrary to the prevailing view on subjects on which he had thought at length.”

Carman was an excellent statistician and many of his research efforts drew on this skill. In one 1982 article in a leading marketing journal, he (with Bob Jacobson and David Aaker) found little evidence of any advertising to sales relationship in the cereal category. This finding stimulated an influential article (with David Aaker) also in 1982, entitled “Are You Overadvertising?” that reviewed some 130 experiments and statistical studies and concluded that, indeed, many firms were spending too much on advertising.

Carman was an effective teacher of undergraduates, M.B.A.s and doctoral students in the business school and also in the School of Public Health. He was instrumental in founding the Graduate Program in Health Management, enabling graduate students to take degrees simultaneously in both business and public health. He became the first administrative director of that program and spent four years counseling students, and improving and extending the reach of this program.

Carman was a gifted administrator. He was organized, good at structuring issues, and outstanding at running meetings. A patient listener, his advice always had weight. He was appointed twice to the posts of associate dean and for a year became the acting dean, all at the business school. He also served as chair of the marketing group for many years.

Within the group he was a great colleague for joint projects. With Bucklin alone he participated in a major research project on consumer shopping behavior, edited a book of original essays on marketing systems, wrote a joint article on medical distribution systems, and managed a doctoral consortium in the field of marketing.

He also was a member of the advisory board for the ASUC Auxiliary, responsible for the direction of ASUC businesses and lessors of ASUC property on the Berkeley campus. Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Barbara Gross Davis, a board colleague, noted that “Jim was responsible for making the Board a professional and effective entity…He clarified and strengthened the Board’s responsibilities regarding financial oversight, teaching us how to look at and understand decisions about finances...Jim put in place a committee structure that was the first of its kind for us, and the structure is still going strong. He was particularly skilled at providing mentorship to the student members.”

Additionally, Carman served as a trustee of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, vice chairman from 1980 to 1989, and as a board member of the Canterbury Foundation from 1997 to 1999.

Carman further applied his expertise in service marketing and healthcare to the benefit of the community. From 1981, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and its proceeding organizations. As a board member, he helped bring the Alta Bates-Herrick Hospital merger to fruition and was an early supporter of the strategy to form a corporate structure to facilitate further alliances of hospitals in the Bay Area. The chief executive officer of the medical center, Robert Montgomery, wrote in a widely distributed e-mail that Carman “…brought considerable health care management, marketing and organizational skills to the Board Room. He was creative, energetic, positive, willing to serve and wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions that often were on people’s minds, but were not being asked. He was a great asset that will be missed and not easily replaced.”

Carman’s contributions to Alta Bates were recognized posthumously through two memorials initiated by the hospital board. One created the Dr. James Carman Quality and Service Team Award for the group that makes a significant contribution in quality or service to the hospital. A second established an annual quality/service lecture established in Professor Carman’s name.

Wearing yet another hat, Carman served as chair of the Kensington Municipal Advisory Committee during the year before he died, and was instrumental in gaining county board approval of a new ordinance that would alter the criteria for approval for new homes and remodels. On November 30, 2004, just nine days before his death, he was presenting arguments for the proposed ordinance before the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Carman was an avid outdoorsman who loved cross-country skiing around his winter retreat in Kirkwood, climbing numerous California mountains, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the peaks of Patagonia, even at an advanced age. A student of the trails used by pioneers across the Sierra, he identified one little known trail and published an article detailing its route in the Overland Journal in the fall of 2004. This article posthumously won the Merrill J. Mattes Award for Excellence in Writing in August of 2005.

His wife, Carol, two daughters, Barbara Peschiera of Portland, Oregon and Kathryn Fulton of Durango, Colorado, a son, Paul, of Richmond, California and four grandchildren survive him. His son noted that “…he was intelligent, kind; he was a real humanitarian. He was a wonderful guy.”


Louis P. Bucklin

David A. Aaker