Dr M.Mahdi Tavalaei
Mahdi is a Lecturer (Assistant professor) at Surrey Business School. He received his PhD in Business Studies (Strategic Management) from IE Business School, Madrid. He also holds a Master in Research Methodology in Management Science, an MBA in Strategy, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics. Before joining Surrey, he was an adjunct lecturer at IE University and European School of Economics, Madrid, visiting research fellow at Bocconi University, Milan, and worked as a project management professional in Iran.
PhD applicants; topics related to my research area (e.g., platform-based ecosystems; digital platform strategies; blockchain and distributed governance) applying quantitative methodology (in particular self-funded candidates) are welcome. Check here for more information and available funds.
Affiliations and memberships
My research focuses on competitive strategy in two-sided markets and platform-based ecosystems. I study how (digital) platforms emerge, evolve, and compete in the markets with network externalities. I also study the competition dynamics among complementors within digital platform ecosystems and the relationship between the platform owner and complementor firms (e.g., value creation and appropriation). I am also interested in how digital transformation and emerging technologies (such as blockchain) impact the industry and enable new business models.
Keywords: Competitive Strategy; Competition in Platform-Based Ecosystems; Two-sided Markets; Platform & Complementors Strategies; Platform Governance; Digital Innovation & Transformation; Quantitative Analyses
Funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants (Oct 2020-2022)
Postgraduate research supervision
- Ying Zhang (Privacy and Trust in Distributed Ledger Technology) Project-led PhD Studentship, principal supervisor
- Proadpran Boonprasurd Piccini (Transition to a sustainable decarbonised electricity paradigm: Indicators for a novel business model design for peer-to-peer energy trading), CES, co-supervisor
- PhD examiner at the University of Surrey
- MSc dissertation supervisor in Business Analytics
- Placement & Personal tutor for undergraduate and postgraduate students
MSc Business Analytics
Foundations of Statistics and Econometrics-MANM467 [+ module leader]- 2019-20; 2020-21; 2021-22
Economics, Business and Sustainability-MAN1100, business economics topic- 2016-17; 2017-18; 2018-19 [+ module leader]; 2019-20; 2020-21; 2021-22
MSc Operations and Supply Chain in the Digital Era
Purchasing and Cost Management-MANM404, topics of cost economics & digital platforms in the supply chain- 2018-19
Previous teachings: International Strategy (UG); Project Management (Executive)
Firms can benefit immensely from participating in digital platform ecosystems—specifically, from the shared technological assets and market opportunities offered by the platform owner. Yet, while aligning with the platform ecosystem rules, each member must decide whether to specialize in a given platform ecosystem or across multiple platform ecosystems to capture these benefits. We examine two common patterns through which platform ecosystem members (i.e., complementors) specialize within and across platform ecosystems, and the relative impact on their market performance. We look at the high relative standing of the complementary product as a reflection of complementors' specialization in the given product category or platform ecosystem. We then theorize that having products with high relative standing in a single product category and a single platform ecosystem, together, diminishes complementors’ market performance over time. Similarly, high relative standing in multiple platform ecosystems and multiple product categories, at the same time, adversely impacts the market performance. We find supportive evidence for our hypotheses, in a panel dataset of mobile app developers. This paper contributes to the burgeoning stream of research that investigates the trade-offs faced by complementors, suggesting that complementor strategies are more complex than simply trying to maximize market reach.
The advent of low-cost carriers has dramatically changed the competitive landscape of the airport industry and diminished the monopoly power that airports once enjoyed. Today, major airports compete directly with periphery airports, which are becoming the apparent choice of low-cost carriers. In fact, contracting with low-cost airlines has become a determinant factor in airport strategies, and airports now face a strategic decision to position themselves towards either low-cost or full-service (legacy) airline, or both. This paper examines the impact of these competitive strategies on airport financial performance. Building on the strategic purity premise, we hypothesise that being either a low-cost-oriented or legacy-oriented airport (pursuing a pure strategy) is associated with superior financial performance, in comparison with combining the two (a hybrid strategy). Moreover, the benefit of pure strategies increases with the intensity of competition among nearby airports. The paper supports these hypotheses with findings drawn from the U.S. airport industry.
This paper investigates the concept of manipulating waiting time in airports, an interesting but relatively unexplored example of the two-sided platform. In this context, “waiting time” refers to the time that users (i.e., airlines/passengers) must spend within/dealing with a platform (i.e., the airport) before accomplishing their goal (i.e., boarding). Even if users on one side dislike waiting time, many two-sided platforms have an incentive not to minimize it in certain situations in order to gain more revenues from users on the other side (i.e. in-terminal concessionaires), who may benefit from waiting time. I argue that passengers’ waiting time before being able to board their flights—that is, airside waiting time—tends to increase when management of the commercial side is outsourced. This effect will be reinforced when the commercial side, rather than the airside, is the more prominent source of revenue generation. Further, I find that concentration of concessionaires on the commercial side positively moderates the waiting time. Overall, this paper contributes to the emerging studies on nonpricing strategies in two-sided platforms.
Drawing upon key insights from the resource orchestration framework as a dynamic perspective on the resource-based view (RBV), we investigated the value creation dynamics found in sharing economy platform firms. By performing multiple-case analyses on platform firms operating in the sharing economy in China, we identified three main mechanisms by which sharing economy platform firms orchestrate their external resources (i.e., crowds of suppliers and consumers) to create value and gain a competitive advantage—constructing on-demand resource adaptation, building big-data-driven network effects, and enabling ecosystem resource coordination. We contribute to the emerging literature on the sharing economy while extending the RBV to the digital platform context, in which the value creation process is significantly shifted to beyond the boundaries of the firm.
Blockchain technology has been receiving much public attention recently, promising to disintermediate transactions through a decentralized governance and a distributed data-infrastructure. However, the majority of the previous studies have focused on the technical aspects, and overlooked blockchain investigation from a managerial perspective. In this paper, based on platform-ecosystem, transaction cost economics, and open-source literature, we contrast and compare blockchain-based platforms and centralized platforms; in other words, decentralized versus centralized governance of the platform. We base our conceptual analysis on three dimensions—transaction cost, cost of technology, and community involvement—, exploring the conditions under which blockchain-based platforms are more advantageous than centralized platforms. We, first, compare gains from lower opportunism and uncertainty thanks to protocols and smart contracts in blockchain technology versus costs of higher coordination and complexity of (re)writing those contracts. Second, we compare gains from immutability and transparency in blockchain-based platforms versus the technological cost of verification and distributed ledger infrastructure. Finally, we compare intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of community around centralized and blockchain-based platforms to participate and different mechanism involved, i.e. pricing mechanism in the former and crypto-incentives in the latter.
- Tavalaei, M.M. and Cennamo, C., 2018. In Search of Status: Exploring Niche Players’ Strategies in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2018, No. 1, p. 10822). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.
- Tavalaei, M.M. and Santalo, J., 2018. Keep It or Share It? Exploring the Impact of Platform Rent Appropriation on Quality of Complementary Products. Academy of Management Global Proceedings, (2018), p.138.
- Cennamo, C. and Tavalaei, M.M., 2016. Stock versus Novelty: Technology Adoption Momentum Revisited. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2016, No. 1, p. 17574).
- Tavalaei, M.M. and Santalo, J., 2015. The Impact of Within Platform Competition in Two-Sided Business Models. In Best Paper Proceedings of the 75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (Vol. 2015, No. 1, p. 12940).
- Tavalaei, M.M. and Santalo, J., 2014. Waiting Time in Platform Markets. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2014, No. 1, p. 15325).
- Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, 2020 (virtual), Keep It or Share It? Exploring the Impact of Platform Rent Appropriation on Quality of Complementary Products, with Juan Santalo & Carmelo Cennamo
- European Group for Organizational Studies, 2020 (virtual), Hierarchical control as a double-edged sword: The effects of institutional infrastructure on user appreciation of field products, with Yanfei Hu
- Reshaping Work Conference, Amsterdam, 2019, Keep It or Share It? Exploring the Impact of Platform Rent Appropriation on Quality of Complementary Products, with Juan Santalo (presenting author) & Carmelo Cennamo
- British Academy of Management Conference, Birmingham, 2019, Digital Platform Evolution: The Effect of Stock versus Novelty of Content in Platform Adoption, with Carmelo Cennamo
- European Academy of Management Conference, Lisbon, 2019, Waiting Time in Platform Markets, with Juan Santalo
- British Academy of Management Conference, Bristol, 2018, Keep It or Share It? Exploring the Impact of Platform Rent Appropriation on Quality of Complementary Products, Winner of the Best Developmental Paper Award in Strategy
- Academy of Management Annual Conference, Chicago, 2018, In Search of Status: Exploring Niche Players' Strategies in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, with Carmelo Cennamo (presenting author)
- European Academy of Management Conference, Reykjavik, 2018, Stock versus Novelty: Technology Adoption Momentum Revisited, with Carmelo Cennamo
- AOM Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy, , Surrey Business School, 2018, Keep It or Share It? Exploring the Impact of Platform Rent Appropriation on Quality of Complementary Products, with Juan Santalo
- British Academy of Management Conference, Warwick, 2017, In Search of Status: Exploring Strategies in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, with Carmelo Cennamo
- Platform Strategy Research Symposium, Boston, 2017, What Is the Impact of Within-Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets?, with Juan Santalo & Annabelle Gawer (presenting author)
- Academy of Management Annual Conference, Anaheim, 2016, Stock versus Novelty: Technology Adoption Momentum Revisited, with Carmelo Cennamo (presenting author)
- Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, Berlin, 2016, Exploring Strategies in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Niche vs. Ecosystem Players, with Carmelo Cennamo
- Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, Denver, 2015, Complementarity between Access Restrictions in Platform Markets, with Juan Santalo
- Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, Denver, 2015, The Impact of Within-Platform Competition in Two-Sided Business Models, with Juan Santalo
- European Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (SEI) Doctorial Consortium, London Business School, 2015, The Impact of Within-Platform Competition in Two-Sided Business Models, with Juan Santalo
- The International Society for New Institutional Economics (ISNIE) Conference, Harvard Law School, 2015, The impact of Within-Platform Competition in Two-Sided Business Models, with Juan Santalo (presenting author)
- Academy of Management Annual Conference, Vancouver, 2015, The Impact of Within-Platform Competition in Two-Sided Business Models, with Juan Santalo
- Academy of Management Annual Conference, Philadelphia, 2014, Waiting Time in Platform Markets, with Juan Santalo
- Strategic Management Society Annual Conference, Madrid, 2014, Waiting Time in Platform Markets, with Juan Santalo
- IE Business School Doctoral Consortium, Madrid, 2014, Waiting Time in Platform Markets, with Juan Santalo