In Memoriam: Dr. James F. Engel

Dr. James Engel pioneered Consumer Behavior at The Ohio State University, one of a handful of universities to offer courses on consumer behavior in the early 1960s and was the first President of the Association for Consumer Research in 1969.  At age 82, he died peacefully on Sept. 24, 2016, at his home in Maple Grove, MN.  He also taught at Eastern College in St. David’s, PA, and was Chair of the Communications Department for 18 years at Wheaton College where he developed the widely used "Engel Scale," describing the process toward spiritual maturity.  Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he received his B.S. from Drake University and MS and PhD in Marketing from the University of Illinois before joining faculties at the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University.
   
Jim Engel was a catalyst to consumer research by his many doctoral students and colleagues.  He recruited David Kollat and Roger Blackwell, graduates of the doctoral programs at Indiana and Northwestern, and immediately involved them in a doctoral seminar on consumer behavior.  Integrating Engel’s background in social psychology with Kollat’s in decision processes and Blackwell’s in sociology and culture led to the development of the EKB Model of Consumer Decision Processes in a trilogy of books by Engel, Kollat and Blackwell, Consumer Behavior, Cases in Consumer Behavior and Research in Consumer Behavior.  Paul Miniard joined the author team in later editions.  Consumer Behavior, now in its 10th edition, was translated into multiple languages and often adopted in the first courses about consumer behavior in marketing and psychology departments throughout the world.  Many of the translations involved professors in other nations, most recently, Consumer Behaviour: An Asia Pacific Approach with Clare D’Souza and Mehdi Taghian. 
   
On August 21-23, 1969, Jim Engel convened a group of academic and business researchers to a Workshop on Experimental Research in Consumer Behavior on the campus of The Ohio State University to present research papers on the emerging field of consumer behavior.  Attendees included Al Birdwell, Stewart Bither, Roger Blackwell, Carl Block, Herbert Brown, Richard Cardozo, Joel Cohen, Keith Cox, Gilbert Davis, Ira Dolich, Jim Engel, Marvin Goldberg, Donald Granbois, Paul Green, Edward Grubb, Flemming Hansen, Munro Kagno, Harold Kassarjian, Robert Kegerreis, Jerome Kernan, David Kollat, Lawrence Light, Al Martin, H. L. Mathews, Hirofumi Matsusaki, James Myers, Edgar Pessemier, Richard Pollay, Fred Posner, Thomas Robertson, Jagdish Sheth, M.S. Sommers, Homer Spence, James Stafford, James Taylor, Douglas Tigert, Charles Van Tassel, M Venkatesan, William Wells, Ronald Willet, Yoram Wind and Arch Woodside and doctoral students Beverlee Anderson, Michael Dean, Bill Leeb, Reza Moinpour and Balkrishna Venkatesh.  A three-ring binder still exists from that conference containing copies of (mimeographed) research papers by Kassarjian, Sheth, Robertson, Wells and other attendees.  
   
By the conclusion of the Workshop, the attendees decided there should be an annual conference to present and review advances in consumer research and voted to create a new organization, the Association for Consumer Research.  The attendees elected James F. Engel as its first president.                                       
Written by David T. Kollat and Roger D. Blackwell