Dr M.Mahdi Tavalaei

Lecturer in Business Transformation
+44 (0)1483 684312
26 MS 02
Wednesdays & Fridays 13:00-14:30 [online via Zoom/Microsoft Teams, arrangement by email]


Affiliations and memberships

Member of Academy of Management; Strategic Management Society; European Academy of Management; British Academy of Management; European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS)


Research interests

Research projects

Research collaborations

Ad-Hoc Journal and Conference Reviewer: Academy of Management annual conference (BPS and TIM Divisions), Strategic Management Society annual conference, British Academy of Management annual conference, European Academy of Management annual conference, Research Policy journal, Sustainability journal


Postgraduate research supervision

My teaching

My publications


M. Mahdi Tavalaei, Juan Santalo (2019)Pure versus hybrid competitive strategies in the airport industry, In: Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice124pp. 444-455 Elsevier

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.

Joana Pereira, M. Mahdi Tavalaei, Hakan Özalp (2019)Blockchain-based platforms: decentralized infrastructures and its boundary conditions, In: Technological Forecasting & Social Change146pp. 94-102 Elsevier

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.

Mahdi Tavalaei (2020)Waiting time in two-sided platforms: The case of the airport industry, In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change159120181 Elsevier

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.

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.

Additional publications