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Prof. Thomas Lawton



Professor Thomas C. Lawton is an award-winning strategic management author, educator, and advisor. A business school professor, based in the UK and the USA, he is an expert on strategic innovation, international strategy, geopolitics, and political risk management. Thomas is a prominent advocate of the advancement of research, management practice, and public policy around business-government relations and the external stakeholder engagement of companies.

Professional Experience

Thomas is Professor of Strategy and International Business and Head of the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Surrey Business School, University of Surrey in the UK. He is also Visiting Professor of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in the USA. He has held faculty positions at Cranfield University, EMLYON Business School, Imperial College London, INSEAD, the Open University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of London.

Thomas is the Founder and Managing Director of Kilcolman Associates, an international, strategic management advisory and facilitation company. He has served as a non-executive director, and worked for over 20 years in consulting and executive development, advising entrepreneurs and managers on how to develop and enhance their strategic thinking and practice. He has partnered with a wide range of companies and organisations in developing their present and future leaders, and charting international growth trajectories. Thomas has facilitated senior management and board level workshops, been a keynote speaker, and run executive programs on corporate strategy, leadership, and international business dynamics at universities and corporations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. His work has featured in media outlets including the BBC News, Channel 4 News, the Conversation, European CEO, Fast Company, and U.S. News & World Report.

Honours and Awards

Professor Lawton is the Strategy Matters Book Series Editor for Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group). He is also Associate Editor of the internationally leading, and longest established strategy journal, Long Range Planning. Furthermore, he serves on the editorial advisory boards of International Business Review and the Irish Journal of Management. His work has received recent research funding awards from the British Academy, the Newton Fund, and the Santander Universities Network. He is a co-recipient of the Emerald Citations of Excellence, awarded annually by Emerald Group Publishing to highly cited papers in Business Management. He is Fellow of the Strategic Planning Society and Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). He holds degrees from University College Cork and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a doctorate in Political Science from the European University Institute.

Publication and Public Speaking

Thomas Lawton has published more than 50 book chapters, case studies, and scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Strange Power and Strategic Management in Aviation. His best known, Breakout Strategy: meeting the challenge of double-digit growth, published by McGraw-Hill, New York, was translated into Japanese by Nikkei and widely commended for its global focus and relevance to practicing managers and aspiring leaders. His latest books are Aligning for Advantage: competitive strategies for the political and social arenas (Oxford University Press, 2014), and The Routledge Companion to Non-Market Strategy (Routledge, 2015).

Over the past five years, Thomas has co-authored the following peer-reviewed papers:

  1. To engage or not to engage with host governments: Corporate political activity and host-country political risk. Global Strategy Journal (2018).
  2. International political risk management: perspectives, approaches, and emerging agendas. International Journal of Management Reviews (2017).
  3. Corporate political activity and location-based advantage: MNE responses to institutional realities in Uganda’s electricity industry. Journal of World Business (2017).
  4. Why trade associations matter: exploring function, meaning, and influence’. Journal of Management Inquiry (2017).
  5. The voice of industry: why management researchers should pay more attention to trade associations. Strategic Organization (2015).
  6. Market entry modes in a multipolar world: untangling the moderating effect of the political environment. International Business Review (2015).
  7. Divided by a common language? Transnational insights into epistemological and methodological approaches to strategic management research in English speaking countries. Long Range Planning (2014).
  8. Why your company may need a chief external officer: upgrading external affairs can help align strategy and improve competitive advantage. Organizational Dynamics (2014).
  9. Corporate political activity: a literature review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews (2013).
  10. The antecedents of political capabilities: a study of ownership, cross-border activity and organization at legacy airlines in a deregulatory context. International Business Review (2013).
  11. Advancing nonmarket strategy research: institutional perspectives in a changing world. Academy of Management Perspectives (2012).
  12. Do you have a survival instinct? Leveraging genetic codes to achieve fit in hostile business environments. Business Horizons (2012).

For Public Speaking video links, please go to my personal website

Aligning for Advantage – book promotion.

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