Dr Reza Aboutalebi

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Research interests

Reza’s research interests have evolved from Business Excellence to Business Success and then to International Strategic Management. His largest research is a comparative study of business practices, in terms of strategy implementation in deferent sectors in 20 countries.  Reza Aboutalebi did his Ph.D. at Royal Holloway School of Management during 2011-2016. Reza’s Ph.D. title was ‘Influential factors in Corporate-level Strategy Implementation in Different Sectors’. This research aimed to develop a theoretical framework for Strategy Implementation, which can illustrate critical and common elements and steps in Strategy Implementation at the corporate-level in different sectors. In another word, this study aimed to identify main intra-organisation elements regarding strategy implementation at the corporate-level and compare these factors to each other in organisations from different sectors in order to find similarities and difference of approaches to corporate-level strategy implementation in different sectors.

    Reza has been conducting academic research since 2000. His research interests are International Strategic Management in general and Strategy Implementation in particular. The results of Reza’s doctoral research indicated that none of the current major schools of thought in strategic management are comprehensive or viable for the 21st century multi-business organisations. Thereby, there is great potential for publications based on Reza’s doctoral thesis. He is working on some publications based on his thesis for Strategic Management Journal, Long Range Planning, and Academy of Management Journal. Reza is highly familiar with different research methodologies. As an Adjunct Professor in the Business Research Project, he teaches advanced research methodology at the University College London to Master’s students. Reza’s doctoral research employed a mixed research design (qualitative and quantitative).

    Regarding Reza’s scholarly (publication) capabilities, it is worth mentioning his thirty-four publications so far (till August 2016). He has published two books in his country, Iran, in Farsi. Furthermore, he has published six book chapters and 26 papers as conference proceedings in top peer-reviewed conferences (e.g. AIB, BAM, EAMSA). These publications are the result of his scholarly research. Reza is able to conduct quantitative and qualitative research and analyses at an advanced level. Although, as a head of research and quality assurance in the largest ICT company in his country, Iran, Reza has been involved in conducting research since 1999, his individual academic research started in 2000. Reza has conducted nine pieces of research since 2000, which are as follows: 

A) My first research was a self-funded study regarding a social problem - the mismatch of spouses - in my country, Iran. I tried to find a managerial solution for this difficulty by conducting a series of focus groups as well as using the Delphi technique.

B) Although my Master’s degree was an MBA, my dissertation was a completely theory-based study. Thus, I conducted a one-year long research project in 2005. My research was a literature-based study on how to analyse and manage different managerial techniques in an organisation in order to avoid conflict amongst them.

C) I spent approximately two years (2008 to 2010) identifying the intra-firm factors that contribute to the effective performance (success) of organisations. A non-statistical meta-analysis technique was employed in order to analyse the relevant literature.

D) My Ph.D. research (2011-2016), at Royal Holloway, University of London, resulted in developing a comprehensive model for Strategy Implementation. I conducted the first and largest comparative study regarding corporate-level strategy implementation in more than 1000 organisations from 20 sectors from 20 countries (all continents). The aim was to develop a strategy execution model by identifying intra- and inter-organisational factors that affect the implementation. The primary data was collected by using online questionnaires and a follow-up interview with some of the participants. My doctoral research used a mixed research design (qualitative and quantitative). Due to a large scope (sample of 5340 organisations from all sectors), my research had a stronger quantitative side with noticeable qualitative elements to develop a fuller picture of the strategy implementation in different industry sectors and different countries.

E) A non-statistical meta-analysis method was used in late 2014 to explore current strategies for supply chains. The results revealed a large gap in the strategising aspect of supply chain management. Consequently, a new and comprehensive set of strategies for a worldwide supply chain was proposed.

F) I conducted a complementary research to my own Ph.D. study in 2015 in order to identify the factors leading to failure of strategy implementation.

G) My second research in 2015 was about obstacles to effective implementation of strategies. I relied on a non-statistical meta-analysis research method.No study was found regarding identifying and classifying the main barriers to strategy implementation.

H) As a principal investigator, I worked in collaboration with two other colleagues regarding transcontinental strategies and strategic choices in 2015. We mainly focused on the dominant modes of outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) employed by Indian enterprises in the UK. 

I) My ninth research was about important set of functional-level strategies, manufacturing ones. This study aims to manage current strategies, suggest some novel strategies, and guide in developing newly required strategies in the future by proposing the taxonomy of international manufacturing strategies. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify and analyze any publications regarding manufacturing strategies at the top five academic journals. Among 349 identified publications, ninety-one papers or books had been found to have new discussions relevant to the topic of this paper. As a result of the analysis, two major themes for categorizing manufacturing strategies emerged that shaped a new taxonomy for international manufacturing strategies with 12 sets of strategies. The results, in form of a book chapter, are scheduled to be published by Springer International Publishing in 2017.

Educational background

Reza gained his BSc in ‘Industrial Management’ from the University of Tehran, Iran (with Distinction) and his MBA in ‘International Management’ from Carleton University, Canada (with First Class). He has been awarded a Ph.D. in International Strategic Management from Royal Holloway, University of London. Reza's doctoral research is the only research-based modelling of corporate-level strategy implementation built on the comparative study of twenty sectors in twenty countries. He is trained as a postgraduate teaching assistant and currently he is working toward his Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE)/inSTIL.


Reza has lectured, tutored and supervised dissertations in business and management since 2006 in the UK. He has experience of teaching international and home students in the Foundation, Higher National Diploma (HND), BSc (Hons), pre-Masters and MBA programmes. At present, he teaches at three universities simultaneously (the University of London, University College London, and Royal Holloway, University of London). He is a Visiting Lecturer in International Business and Strategic Management at Royal Holloway School of Management, University of London. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Business Research Project at University College London (UCL School of Management). Furthermore, he is an online tutor and examiner at the University of London for its distance learning programme in Business. He is working simultaneously as an on-campus lecturer as well as the online tutor for the University of London.

    Although Reza’s main specialities are Strategic and International Management, he can teach the broad range of topics in business/management. He taught Strategic Management, International Business, International Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship/Innovation, Research Methodology, Project Management, Operations Management, International Marketing, International Human Resources Management, Global Economy, and Hospitality Management. Reza appreciates the creativity so he is always committed to taking an innovative approach to teaching and learning. He is highly capable of responding enthusiastically and positively to students. Reza has the passion for teaching and learning within higher education.


Reza has taught/tutored the following modules at Royal Holloway, University of London:

  • Strategic Management (BSc)
  • International Strategic Management (MSc)
  • International Business (BSc)
  • Global economy (BSc)
  • Modern Business in Comparative Perspective (BSc)
  • Online Modern Business in Comparative Perspective (BSc)


Reza has taught the following course at University College London:

  • Business Research Project (MSc)


 Reza taught the following topics as associate lecturer for the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University and LSBM:

  • Strategic Management (MBA) (accredited by the University of South Wales)
  • International Business (MBA) (accredited by the University of South Wales)
  • Innovation (MBA) (accredited by the University of South Wales)
  • International and Strategic Marketing (BSc) (accredited by Cardiff Metropolitan University)
  • Strategic Management of Information Systems (BSc) (accredited by Cardiff Metropolitan University)
  • International Business and Cultural Diversity (BSc) (accredited by Cardiff Metropolitan University)
  • Operations Management in Business (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Strategic Marketing Management (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Strategic Planning (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Strategic Quality and Systems Management (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Project Management (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Marketing (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Research Methodology/Project (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Human Resources Management (accredited by Pearson Edexcel)
  • Tourism Management (accredited by CTH)


 Reza tutored the following topics at the University of Manchester, MAP (foundation) programme:

  • An Introduction to Business Studies
  • Project Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Fundamentals of Economics


 Reza tutored the following courses for ICUT (The Institute of Independent Colleges and University Teachers):

  • Strategic Management
  • Marketing
  • Organisation Studies
  • Human Resource Management
  • Operations Management
  • Hospitality Management
  • International Business
  • Research Methods
  • Project Management

Other work

Dissertations Supervisory

Reza supervised dissertations of 12 MBA students from the University of South Wales and 17 MBA students from Cardiff Metropolitan University that all of them have been awarded an MBA degree. Furthermore, he was the supervisor of 13 BSc students from Cardiff Metropolitan University. Reza supervised five Masters dissertations of the students at University College London (UCL School of Management). 


Administrative Roles in Academia


  • Reza has been working as ‘Examiner’ of the University of London for BSc Business Administration at Royal Holloway, University of London since 2013.
  • He worked as a ‘Programme Leader’ for HND and BSc (Hons) courses at London School of Business and Management (LSBM).
  • He also worked as an ‘Internal Verifier’ at London School of Business and Management (LSBM)

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