Ajay Bhalla is Full Professor of Global Innovation Management in the Faculty of Management at Cass. He is an expert on three areas:
(1) Global innovation strategy and firm configuration;
(2) How Ownership & Governance Structure influences strategic decision making, with specific focus on Employee-Owned Business and Family Controlled Firms;
(3) Capabilities and resources firms need to overcome institutional barriers and operate successfully in Emerging Markets..
Recently he was a Research Scholar at Indian School of Business [ISB] - Hyderabad. He is currently associated with Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Business at ISB. An award winning researcher and teacher, he works closely with senior managers to execute thought leadership.
He has published in Academy of Management Perspectives, Journal of Operations Management, Journal of World Business, Small Business Economics, International Small Business Journal, Industrial Marketing Management, Business Horizons, European Management Journal, Strategic Change and Journal of Computer Mediated Communication. His research has also appeared in Financial Times and has been cited widely in other media outlets such as The Economist, The Times, The Guardian etc. .
Research Impact on Policy
In 2012, his work (with Joseph Lampel and Pushkar Jha) on examining the Employee-owenership was incorporated into the official UK Government policy for promoting employee ownership.
He has co-authored two influential reports. First is Model growth: Do employee owned businesses deliver sustainable performance? . Second, is his work with UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The report titled The Employee Ownership Advantage: Benefits and Consequences which was released along with the UK Government's Nuttall Review on Employee-Ownership . In 2012, he was invited to sit on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills implementation group responsible for implementing the Employee Ownership policy in UK.
A variety of organizations have supported his field research. These include Wipro which worked with him to write a case-study on Wipro Consulting Services , SAP AG, John Lewis Partnership where he (& Joseph Lampel) worked on examining impact of ownership structure on firm performance in UK, and International Chambers of Commerce where he (Joseph Lampel and Pushkar Jha) worked on counterfeiting and intellectual property survey of global firms.
Ajay Bhalla has received several research and teaching awards. His work has been nominated for best paper award at 2010 Strategic Management Society (SMS) Conference held in Rome and Academy of Management Conference held at Montreal.
He is recipient of 2009 Research Award at Cass Business School and two City University Teaching Awards 2007 City University Teaching Award for teaching on MBA programme and 2008 Cass Business School Teaching Award for his teaching on Masters programmes.
He (with Joe Lampel) has won research awards from International Chambers of Commerce, UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and many private organizations.
He (with Joseph Lampel) has also received the highly commended research award from Emerald for his research in Management.
Executing through leadership
He regularly consults top management teams who are seeking expertise on (a) how to create sustainable family firms, and (b) how to configure a firm's activity system to take global advantage of technology induced innovation
He is often sought as a key-note speaker for his expertise. He has delivered several key-notes to audience ranging from consulting firms to policy audience.
Building on his research on India, he works with top management teams on topics ranging from 'How are firms launching and building their global businesses in India?', 'How successful firms integrate India within their international growth or optimization strategy?', and 'What are the best practices in governance and relationship management when working with Indian family firms?'.
He has extensively advised executives on - Best Practices to follow when launching new ventures in the Indian market; How to create and appropriate value in IP sensitive environments across the value chain ; Best practices in establishing offshore centres of excellence for high value added functions; How to promote learning from Vendor Relationships. During his engagements he uses proprietary tools he has developed during his work with numerous clients in software, professional services, and public services sectors.
In his teaching, he aims to strike the balance between academic rigor and managerial relevance. His teaching has won number of awards (see awards section). He holds a post-graduate diploma in International Teaching from Stockholm School of Economics.
Based on his research interests, he currently teaches three courses (1) 'Building Enduring Family Business', (2) 'Information Management' and (3) 'India Strategy' on Cass Masters, MBA and Executive courses.
BUILDING ENDURING FAMILY BUSINESS: "I just wanted to thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to participate in this very intense yet extremely rewarding course. I do not think I have learnt as much as I have in the past 3 days in any other course. Before I took this course, I never considered joining my family business. However after attending the course, I realise first of all that my father has worked too hard to have none of his children take over his company and secondly, I can be involved in the strategical direction and growth of the company as it is still a fairly small company and has a lot of potential to grow.
So now, as I go back for the short holiday I am going to make an effort to get to know the business and understand fully what it is about and at least try to contribute some of the things I learnt here there."
"Fantastic teaching style! The best module I have ever had!"
"Many thanks for the India elective, it was a great insight into India and outsourcing. Your teaching on the ground was excellent. I learnt more than I could ever learn from a text book, as having the opportunity to meet and talk to you and the people in India was a fantastic experience."
Leading programme design
He has extensive new programme design and administration experience at post graduate level. (i) He is currently Deputy Research Director of Film, Media and Entertainment Research centre. (ii) He has undertaken various roles at Cass, such as Programme Director for BSc in Management Studies, and (iii) Admissions Director for Cass Masters in Management programme. (iv) More recently he was Deputy Academic Director of Film Business Academy. In this role, along with Prof. Joe Lampel, he led the design of new MSc and MBA programme.
He considers that the most profound influence on his research streams has emerged from working closely with Joseph Lampel. He also collaborates with a very small but delightful group of individuals such as Pushkar Jha, Kavil Ramachandran, and Raveendra Chittoor.
Prior to joining Cass his industry experience involved working as a manager in the strategy consulting practice for Digitas, where his role involved working with major financial institutions and FMCG clients on developing technology enabled value enhancing strategies. Ajay has also worked for business analytics practice at Norkom Technologies, where his role involved developing customer intelligence solutions for airline and financial services sector.
He has also gained a first hand substantial start-up experience as an entrepreneur, while successfully co-founding an online market research firm-Intellivey.com.
He holds B.Comm from Punjab University, India, MBA from University of Wolverhampton and a Ph.D in Strategic Management from University of Nottingham Trent, UK. He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in International Teaching from Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.
Room number: 4041
Ph: +44 207 040 8702