Thomas Burnham headshot

Thomas Burnham

Assistant Professor of Marketing


Thomas Burnham joined the faculty at University of Nevada, Reno in 2014. Prior to joining the University, Thomas taught at Santa Clara University, spent a decade growing a company that he co-founded that manufactured solar-powered, wirelessly-activated crosswalk warning light systems, worked in executive performance reporting for MCI Telecommunications and consulted with the management of an agricultural cooperative in rural Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Thomas is actively engaged in the Reno entrepreneurship community, having worked for two local technology startups, served as the Metro Director for the CleanTech Open accelerator program, and served as a longstanding board member for the Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET). He enjoys coaching students developing business plans and helping judge business plan competitions including the Pack Pitch, the Sontag Competition, the Governor's Cup, and Nevada FBLA competitions.

Academic and Research Interests

Thomas' academic research focuses on customer loyalty and customer feedback. His dissertation resulted in a much-cited paper offering a typology of switching costs that lead consumers to exhibit loyal behavior with services despite their level of satisfaction with the service provider. His recent research has delved into the use and meaning of the ubiquitous survey question "How likely are you to recommend X to a friend or colleague?" (the ‘Net Promoter Score' customer feedback metric). He is exploring the topic of customer feedback broadly: Why and when consumers provide feedback to firms, how firms learn from customer feedback, and what types of feedback are used by what types of firms for what purposes. He is particularly interested in firm use of unstructured, unsolicited customer feedback such as suggestions, requests and complaints.

Courses Taught at The University of Nevada, Reno

  • MKT 210 - Principles of Marketing
  • MKT 492 - Customer Loyalty


  • Burnham, Thomas A, Jean Jeon and Hongchao Zeng, "Illegal Corporate Bribery: The Pressure to 'Make-Do' and Achieve Goals, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, forthcoming.
  • Burnham, Thomas A, and Bret Leary, "Word of Mouth Opportunity: Why Recommendation Likelihood Overestimates Positive Word of Mouth," Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, forthcoming.
  • Burnham, Thomas A, and Igor Makienko, "Factors Affecting Exam Completion Speed, Exam Performance and Non-Exam Performance," Journal of Marketing Education, forthcoming.
  • Wieland, Alice, and Thomas A. Burnham (2016), "Boosting Performance in Evaluative Tasks: Activating Goals vs. Self-Affirming," Psychological Reports, 118 (1), 41-6.
  • Burnham, Thomas A, Judy K. Frels and Vijay Mahajan (2003), "Consumer Switching Costs: A Typology, Antecedents, and Consequences," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 31 (2), 109-126.
    • This article received the Sheth Award for the best JAMS article of the year and has been cited over 1,800 times.
  • Baker, Gregory A, and Thomas A. Burnham (2001), "The Market for Genetically Modified Foods: Consumer Characteristics and Policy Implications." International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, Vol. 4 (4), 351-360.
  • Baker, Gregory A, and Thomas A. Burnham (2001), "Consumer Response to Genetically Modified Foods: Market Segment Analysis and Implications for Producers and Policy Makers." Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 26 (2), 387-403.


Thomas is married and has two children attending schools in Reno. He loves living in Reno with its easy access to hiking, camping, and especially mountain biking. He speaks fluent, if rusty, Spanish and a smattering of Guarani. He holds a private pilot's license and a class C California contractor's license.


  • Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, Marketing Strategy, 1998
  • B.A., Rice University, Managerial Studies, 1988

Professional Certifications

  • Sheth "Best Article of the Year" in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
  • Inducted into Business Honor Society Delta Sigma Pi