Frank M. Bass

December 27, 1926 – December 1, 2006

Brief Biography

Bass Presidential Gallery Portrait

Frank M. Bass was a leading marketing scientist and researcher who served as the twenty-fifth president of The Institute for Management Sciences (TIMS). Born in Cuero, Texas, he spent the first two years out of high school abroad with the United States Navy. Bass returned to Texas and attended Southwestern University before heading half-an-hour south to Austin for a master’s degree from the University of Texas. Bass continued his graduate education at the University of Illinois and received his PhD in 1954.

In 1959, Bass was part of a research team sponsored by the Ford Foundation. The team spent the year at Harvard University to focus on the study of mathematics in business. Tasked with improving the purported sad state of business school education in the United States, Bass gained the necessary insight to help build business and marketing programs. He took this insight to Purdue University where he was the Loeb Distinguished Professor Marketing for over twenty years.

Of all his advancements and contributions, Bass is best remembered for the development of the Bass Diffusion Model. First appearing in a 1969 Management Science article, the model consists of a simple differential equation that describes the process by which new products get adopted in a population. Since its initial contraception, the Bass Model has been widely used in technology forecasting and the original remains one of the most cited in Management Science  history.

While still at Purdue, Bass was elected TIMS president, serving term in 1978-1979. After his tenure as president, he co-founded the Journal of Marketing Science with John D. C. Little and served as the chief editor of the Journal of Marketing Research. Bass was an active advocate for his research area and successfully convinced the National Science Foundation to recognize marketing research a legitimate subject to fund.

Bass dealt with numerous areas over the course of his research career. In addition to his work on forecasting, Bass published on linear programming, stochastic modeling, decision theory, and statistical methods. He returned to Texas in 1981 to accept a position at the University of Texas at Dallas not too far from his home town. His influence on the department of management science at UT Dallas earned it the endearing nickname of “Bass’s Shop.”

As a professor, Bass was principal advisor to sixty doctoral students, many of whom have made contributions to the field as important to the field as their supervisor had. as equally important strides in the field as their supervisor did. Bass received numerous accolades for his publications and body of work. His article on stochastic preferences and brand switching was awarded the American Marketing Association’s first William F. O’Dell prize. In 1987, Bass was presented with the John D. C. Little Prize for his paper on how newer technologies continually replace old ones. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in 2002. Two years after Bass’s death, the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science  awarded him its Fellow Award. 

Other Biographies

Wikipedia Entry for Frank Bass

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Frank M. Bass. Accessed February 16, 2015. (link)

University of South Australia Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Sciences. About the Institute: Professor Frank Bass (1926-2006). Accessed February 16, 2015. (link)


Southwestern University, BBA 1949

University of Texas at Austin, MBA 1950

University of Illinois, PhD 1954


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas


Ancestry. Message Board Obituaries: Frank M. Bass, PhD. Published December 4, 2006. Accessed February 16, 2015. (link)

The University of Texas at Dallas. Webpage of Dr. Eric D. Brown.   In Memoriam: Dr. Frank M. Bass. Updated December 11, 2006. Accessed January 28, 2020. (link)

Awards and Honors

American Marketing Association William F. O'Dell Award 1976

American Marketing Association Paul D. Converse Award 1986

John D. C. Little Award 1987

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

Marketing Research Special Interest Group Gilbert A. Churchill Award 2002

INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Fellow Award 2008

Professional Service

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) President 1978-1979

Selected Publications

Bass F. M. (1956) Expense and Margin Functions in Drug Stores. Journal of Marketing, 20(3): 236-241.

Bass F. M. (1969) A new product growth model for consumer durables. Management Science, 15(15): 215-227.

Bass F. M. & Talarzyk W. W. (1972) An attitude model for the study of brand preference. Journal of Marketing Research, 9(1): 93-96.

Bass F. M. (1974) The Theory of Stochastic Preference and Brand Switching. Journal of Marketing Research, 11(1): 1-20.

Bass F. M. & Rao R. C. (1985) Competition, strategy, and price dynamics: A theoretical and empirical investigation. Journal of Marketing Research, 22(3): 283-296.

Bass F. M. & Norton J. A. (1987) A Diffusion Theory Model of Adoption and Substitution for Successive Generations of High-Technology Products. Management Science, 33(9): 1069-1086.

Bass F. M., Muller E., & Mahajan V. (1991) New product diffusion models in marketing: A review and directions for research. Diffusion of Technologies and Social Behavior, 125-177. Springer: Berlin.

Bass F. M., Jain D. C., & Krishnan T. V. (1994) Why the Bass Model First without Decision Variables. Marketing Science, 13(2): 203-223.

Bass F. M. (2004) Comments on “A new product growth for model consumers durables the bass model”. Management Science, 50(12): 1833-1840. (link)