Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professor Thomas Lawton

Professor Thomas Lawton

Professor Thomas C. Lawton

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Strategy and International Management
  • The Faculty of Business and Law
  • The Open University Business School
  • Department for Strategy and Marketing
  • thomas.lawton

Professional biography

Thomas Lawton is Professor of Strategy and International Management at the Open University Business School. He is also Visiting Professor of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in the USA. He is a Founding Member of the Strategic Management Forum, Fellow of the Strategic Planning Society and Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Professor Lawton holds degrees from University College Cork and the London School of Economics and has a doctorate in political science from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He has previously held faculty positions at Cranfield University, EMLYON Business School, Imperial College London, Trinity College Dublin, the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration, the London School of Economics and Royal Holloway University of London. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, EU Human Capital Mobility Fellow at the University of Essex and a Research Fellow at INSEAD.

Research interests

Prof. Lawton's work is situated at the intersection of strategic innovation, entrepreneurship and internationalization. His research expertise is in business model innovation; new organizational forms and strategic processes for corporate political activity (CPA) and corporate social responsibility (CSR); and the management and mitigation of political risk when entering and embedding in foreign markets.

He is Associate Editor of Long Range Planning and on the Editorial Advisory Board of International Business Review and the Irish Journal of Management. He has published almost 50 papers and book chapters, including articles in leading journals such as Academy of Management Perspectives,  International Business Review, Long Range Planning, Management International Review, and Strategic Organization. He is the author or editor of 8 books, including Strange Power (2000) and Strategic Management in Aviation (2008). His best known, Breakout Strategy: meeting the challenge of double-digit growth, published by McGraw-Hill, New York in 2007, was translated into Japanese by Nikkei Publishing and widely commended for its global focus and relevance to practicing managers and aspiring leaders. His latest co-authored book, Aligning for Advantage: competitive strategies for the political and social arenas, was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. He co-edited The Routledge Companion to Non-Market Strategy, published in 2015.

Teaching interests

Strategic Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship, and International Strategy

Impact and engagement

Thomas has served as a Non-Executive Director of high tech start-ups and has worked for 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 organizations in developing their present and future leaders and charting their international growth trajectories. He has also been Academic Director of the global Executive MBA in International Financial Services Management for JP Morgan Asset Management. He has facilitated senior management and board level workshops 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. Thomas is a frequent media commentator and has been cited or published in outlets including Corriere della Sera, European CEO, The Conversation, The Straits Times and Sunday Business Post. He is a regular contributor to the BBC, Channel 4 and Jeff Randall Live on Sky News. He also contributes to the Economic Intelligence blog of U.S. News & World Report.

External collaborations

External Examiner, University College Dublin; Visting appointments and research collaborations at the Athens Laboratory for Business Administration (Greece), EMLYON Business School (France), Imperial College Business School (UK), the Moller Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge (UK), and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (USA).

 The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (USA); EMLYON Business School (France); University College Dublin (Ireland).


International Political Risk Management: Perspectives, Approaches and Emerging Agendas (2017)
John, Anna and Lawton, Thomas C.
International Journal of Management Reviews ((Early Access))
Introduction: Revisiting the Roles and Responsibilities of Trade Associations (2017)
Lawton, Thomas and Rajwani, Tazeeb
Journal of Management Inquiry ((Early Access))
Why Trade Associations Matter: Exploring Function, Meaning, and Influence (2017)
Lawton, Thomas; Rajwani, Tazeeb and Minto, Amy
Journal of Management Inquiry ((Early Access))
Corporate political activity and location-based advantage: MNE responses to institutional transformation in Uganda’s electricity industry (2017)
Mbalyohere, Charles; Lawton, Thomas; Boojihawon, Roshan and Viney, Howard
Journal of World Business ((Early Access))
The "Voice of Industry": Why management researchers should pay more attention to trade associations (2015-08)
Rajwani, Tazeeb; Lawton, Thomas and Phillips, Nelson
Strategic Organization, 13(3) (pp. 224-232)
Market entry modes in a multipolar world: untangling the moderating effect of the political environment (2015-06)
De Villa, Maria A.; Rajwani, Tazeeb and Lawton, Thomas
International Business Review, 24(3) (pp. 419-429)
Divided by a common language? Transnational insights into epistemological and methodological approaches to strategic management research in English-speaking countries (2014-10)
Pilkington, Alan and Lawton, Thomas C.
Long Range Planning, 47(5) (pp. 299-311)
Why your company may need a chief external officer: upgrading external affairs can help align strategy and improve competitive advantage (2014-04)
Doh, Jonathan P.; Lawton, Thomas C.; Rajwani, Tazeeb and Paroutis, Sotirios
Organizational Dynamics, 43(2) (pp. 96-104)
The antecedents of political capabilities: a study of ownership, cross-border activity and organization at legacy airlines in a deregulatory context (2013-02-02)
Lawton, Thomas; Rajwani, Tazeeb and Doh, Jonathan
International Business Review, 22(1) (pp. 228-242)
Advancing Nonmarket Strategy Research: Institutional Perspectives in a Changing World (2012-07-25)
Doh, Jonathan P.; Lawton, Thomas C. and Rajwani, Tazeeb
Academy of Management Perspectives, 26(3) (pp. 22-39)
Corporate Political Activity: A Literature Review and Research Agenda (2012-04-24)
Lawton, Thomas; McGuire, Steven and Rajwani, Tazeeb
International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(1) (pp. 86-105)
Do you have a survival instinct? Leveraging genetic codes to achieve fit in hostile business environments (2012-01)
Lawton, Thomas; Rajwani, Tazeeb and Reinmoeller, Patrick
Business Horizons, 55(1) (pp. 81-91)
Designing lobbying capabilities: managerial choices in unpredictable environments (2011)
Lawton, Thomas and Rajwani, Tazeeb
European Business Review, 23(2) (pp. 167-189)
Strategic reorientation and business turnaround: the case of global legacy airlines (2011)
Lawton, Thomas; Rajwani, Tazeeb and O'Kane, Conor
Journal of Strategy and Management, 4(3) (pp. 215-237)
Multilateralism and the multinational enterprise (2009-08-13)
Lawton, Thomas C.; Lindeque, Johan P. and McGuire, Steven M.
Business and Politics, 11(2) (Art.3)
Vision by design: a reflexive approach to enterprise regeneration (2008)
Finkelstein, Sydney; Harvey, Charles and Lawton, Thomas
Journal of Business Strategy, 29(2) (pp. 4-13)
Aligning for Advantage: Competitive Strategies for the Political and Social Arenas (2014)
Lawton, Thomas C.; Doh, Jonathan P. and Rajwani, Tazeeb
ISBN : 9780199604753 | Publisher : Oxford University Press
The Routledge Companion to Non-Market Strategy (2015)
Lawton, Thomas C. and Rajwani, Tazeeb S. eds.
ISBN : 9780415712316 | Publisher : Routledge