Faculty Directory

Thomas C. Lawton

Visiting Professor of Business Administration





Personal Website



PhD, European University Institute, 1995; MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science, 1991; BA, University College Cork, 1990

Areas of Expertise

Business policy and strategy, international business


International Strategy


Professor Lawton is an authority on nonmarket strategy and business model innovation, particularly during corporate turnaround or in response to political risk. Much of his work explores organizational forms and strategy processes for engaging political and social actors and arenas. The research leverages institutional perspectives and extends capabilities theory beyond market settings and into the nonmarket contexts of corporate political activity (CPA) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). His research has explored and advanced our understanding of how the firm competes beyond market settings, partnering with government in industrial policy initiatives, engaging external stakeholders through intermediaries like trade associations, and managing and mitigating political risk when entering and embedding in foreign markets, particularly emerging economies. He teaches a course in International Strategy at Tuck.

Current Research Topics

  • Differentiating through CSR: Exploring nonmarket capability building processes and practices
  • The nonmarket strategic engagement of multinational enterprises in Africa’s Great Lakes region 
  • Foreign market entry decisions: the role and measurement of political context
  • Corporate survival and success in difficult political contexts
  • Renewing Lamborghini: exploring innovation interdependencies and capability development in luxury manufacturing

Professional Activities

Academic positions

  • Visiting Professor, Tuck School of Business, 2010–present
  • Professor of Strategy and International Management, the Open University Business School, 2012–present
  • Visiting Professor, EMYLON Business School, 2012–present
  • Professor of Strategy and International Business, EMLYON Business School, 2010–12
  • Professor of Strategic Management, School of Management, Cranfield University, 2008–10
  • Visiting Professor, IEDC Bled School of Management, 2006
  • Visiting Professor, Tuck School, 2004–06
  • Visiting Professor, IESEG, Université Catholique de Lille, 2002–04
  • Associate Professor, Imperial College Business School, 2002–08
  • Visiting Professor, Sup. De Co. Amiens, 2001–04
  • Assistant Professor, Royal Holloway University of London, 1996–2002

Nonacademic positions

  • Executive development for current and previous clients including: Alcon, Bombardier Transportation, Carrier, China Industrial Bank, CITIC Bank, Enterprise Ireland, Fix-a-Form International, International Air Transport Association, IBM, Invest Northern Ireland, JP Morgan, Mapfre, Quest Group, Rothco, Singapore High Technology Association, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, UnionPay, United Technologies, Volvo, and WYG Group.
  • Press and Public Affairs Intern, Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities to the United States, Washington D.C.

Editorial positions

  • Editor, Strategy Matters (Routledge Book Series)
  • Associate Editor, Long Range Planning
  • Guest Editor, Management International Review
  • Editorial Boards
    • International Business Review, Irish Journal of Management
  • Ad-hoc Reviewer
    • British Journal of Management, International Business Review, International Journal of Management Reviews, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of World Business, Long Range Planning, Strategic Management Journal


  • HEFCE Newton Fund Official Development Assistance for "The non-market strategic engagement of multinational enterprises in Africa’s Great Lakes region," 2017
  • British Academy/Leverhulme small research grant for (research collaboration with CSR Trade Association on) "Differentiating through CSR: Exploring Nonmarket Capability Building Processes and Practices," 2016-17
  • GCRF Consortium Building, Open University International Development and Inclusive Innovation Strategic Research Area, grant awarded to build a consortium to bid for RCUK Global Challenges Research Funding, 2017-18
  • 2016 Emerald Citation of Excellence, awarded by Emerald Group Publishing, for most cited paper in the areas of business management, finance, accounting, economics, and marketing, for "Corporate Political Activity: a Literature Review and Research Agenda," in International Journal of Management Reviews
  • Research grant from Santander Universities Network for (research collaboration on) "Nonmarket Strategies: Analyzing Performance Impact," 2015–16
  • Elected Representative at Large, the Practice of Strategy Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society, 2009–11
  • Invited member of the Teaching Committee, Business Policy and Strategy Group, Academy of Management, 2004–06
  • Fellow, Strategic Planning Society; Fellow, Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)

Working Papers

  • With D. Angwin, J. Arrègle, P. Barbieri, and B.Dattée, "Strategic Turnaround Through Distributed Resource Orchestration: A Study of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A."
  • With R. García-García, L. Fernandez-Mendez, A. John, and E. García-Canal, "Strategic Groups and New Organizational Forms: A Real Options Approach to Understanding International Airline Constellations"
  • With J. Puck and A. John, "Connecting Corporate Political Activity and Firm Performance: A Meta-Analytical Review"
  • With A. John, "Looking Back to Move Ahead: Historical Perspectives on International Political Risk Management"
  • With G. Carli and M. Tagliaventi, "Explore, Exploit, or Both? Unravelling the Influence of Management Consultants on Ambidexterity"
  • With M. Meadows, A. John, and G. Carli, "Can Strategic Management Skills Be Learned Online?’"
  • With M. Meadows, A. John, "Explicating Temporal Capabilities in M&A: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach to Historically Embedded Context"

Selected Publications

  • With C. Mbalyohere, R. Boojihawon, and H. Viney, "Corporate Political Activity and Location-Based Advantage: MNE Responses to Institutional Realities in Uganda’s Electricity Industry," Forthcoming: Journal of World Business, 2017
  • With T. Rajwani and A. Minto, "Why Trade Associations Matter: Exploring Function, Meaning, and Influence," Journal of Management Inquiry, 10.1177/1056492616688853, 2017
  • With T. Rajwani, The Routledge Companion to Non-Market Strategy, Routledge, 2015
  • With T. Rajwani and N. Phillips, “The Voice of Industry: Why Management Researchers Should Pay More Attention to Trade Associations," Strategic Organization, 13(3), 2015
  • With M.A. De Villa Correa and T. Rajwani, "Market Entry Modes in a Multipolar World: Untangling the Moderating Effect of the Political Environment," International Business Review, 24(3), 2015
  • With J. Doh and T. Rajwani, Aligning for Advantage: Competitive Strategies for the Political and Social Arenas, Oxford University Press, 2014
  • With J. Doh, T. Rajwani and S. Paroutis, "Why Your Company May Need a Chief External Officer: Upgrading External Affairs Can Help Align Strategy and Improve Competitive Advantage," Organisational Dynamics, 43(3), 2014
  • With A. Pilkington, “Divided by a Common Language? Transnational Insights into Epistemological and Methodological Approaches to Strategic Management Research in English Speaking Countries,” Long Range Planning, 47(5), 2014
  • With S. McGuire and T. Rajwani, "Corporate Political Activity: a Literature Review and Research Agenda," International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(1), 2013
  • With T. Rajwani and J. Doh, "The Antecedents of Political Capabilities: A Study of Ownership, Cross-Border Activity and Organization at Legacy Airlines in a Deregulatory Context," International Business Review, 22(1), February, 2013
  • With J. Doh and T. Rajwani, "Advancing Nonmarket Strategy Research: Institutional Perspectives in a Multipolar World," The Academy of Management Perspectives, 26(3), 2012
  • With T. Rajwani and P. Reinmoeller, "Do You Have A Survival Instinct? Leveraging Genetic Codes to Achieve Fit in Hostile Business Environments," Business Horizons, 55(1), 2012
  • With T. Rajwani and C. O’Kane, "Strategic Reorientation and Business Turnaround: The Case of Global Legacy Airlines," Journal of Strategy and Management, 4(2), 2011
  • With T. Rajwani, "Designing Lobbying Capabilities: Managerial Choices in Unpredictable Environments," European Business Review, 23(2), 2011
  • With A. Gogbashian. "Keeping the Legacy Carrier Competitive: How Can Mature Airlines Stay Ahead in the Low Fare Airline Era?" in J.F. O’Connell and G. Williams (eds.) Air Transport in the 21st Century: Key Strategic Developments, Ashgate, 2011
  • With J. Story, "The Global Dynamics of Business-State Relations," in D. Coen, W. Grant and G. Wilson (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Business and Government, Oxford University Press, 2010
  • With J. Lindeque and S. McGuire. "Multilateralism and the Multinational Enterprise: the WTO’s Influence on Strategy Process," Business and Politics, 11(2), 2009
  • With S. Finkelstein and C. Harvey, "Vision by Design: a Reflexive Approach to Enterprise Regeneration," Journal of Business Strategy, 29(2), 2008