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Professor of Strategy, School of Management, University of St Andrews

I am Professor of Strategy at the University of St Andrews School of Management. Previously I held a Chair in Strategic Management at the University of Edinburgh Business School, where I was also Director of Engagement (Associate Dean) on the Executive (2014-2016), Head of the Strategy and International Business Group (2011-2014), and Director of the MBA programmes (2009-2011). I also held an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Senior Fellowship in the Future of the UK and Scotland program (2013-2014). I earned a BA in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Canada, an MLitt (Distinction) in Management, Economics and Politics (MEP) and a PhD in Strategy from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

I am Vice-Principal (International Strategy and External Relations) in the Principal's Office of the University.

Teaching: Contemporary Global Issues in Management

Research areas
My research, teaching and consultancy interests include strategy development, execution and implementation, contingency planning, scenario planning and the political economy of strategy-making.

I was recently appointed by the ESRC (Economic Social Research Council) as a Senior Fellow for the Scotland Analysis, to investigate the impact of the independence debate in Scotland and the United Kingdom on business decision-making. I have published in a range of scholarly journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Studies, Human Relations, the European Management Review, Futures, International Studies of Management and Organization, Management and Organization History, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change. I am also co-editor of the Edward Elgar Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight (2009).

My research is interdisciplinary in nature, importing sensibilities from economics, history, philosophy, psychology and sociology for the purpose of better understanding the mechanisms underpinning wealth creation. I am also a co-founder of the Strategic Foresight Special Interest Group (SIG) of the British Academy of Management, in which I served as its Chairperson between 2003 and 2007. My research has been widely covered in the press, including the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal. I am a regular commentator on business related issues in the media.

Selected publications
Scaling sustainability from the organizational periphery to the strategic core: towards a practice-based framework of what practitioners “do”
Birrell Ivory, S. & Mackay, R. B., 20 Mar 2020, In : Business Strategy and the Environment. Early View

Scenario planning as strategic activity: a practice-orientated approach
Bowman, G. & MacKay, R. B., 3 Feb 2020, In : Futures & Foresight Science. Early View

Synthesizing scenario planning and industry recipes through an analysis of the Hollywood film industry
Bezjian, J., Stoyanova, V., McKiernan, P. & MacKay, R. B., Jan 2020, In : Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 150, 119777.

Scenario thinking: a historical evolution of strategic foresight
Mackay, R. B., Oct 2018, Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press. 45 p. (Elements in business strategy)

Open access
Scenario planning with a sociological eye: augmenting the intuitive logics approach to understanding the future of Scotland and the UK
Mackay, B. & Stoyanova, V., Nov 2017, In : Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 124, p. 88-100

Implications for international business of separatist movements: The case of Scottish independence
Frank, M., Barry, F., Driffield, N., MacKay, B., Ross, D., Rugman, A. & Young, S., 2015, The rise of multinationals from emerging economies: achieving a new balance. Konara, P., Ha, Y., McDonald, F., Wei, Y., Pettit, C. P. C. & Dunleavy, P. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, (The Academy of International Business).

Business Attitudes (towards Scottish independence): The Economic Consequences of Scottish Independence
MacKay, B., 2014, The Economic Consequences of Scottish Independence. Helmut Schmidt Universität, p. 81 1 p.

Business Decision-Making in Conditions of Constitutional and Political Uncertainty in the UK and Scotland: Evidence from business final report
MacKay, B., Aug 2014, Economic and Social Research Council , p. 1-24, 24 p.
Business decision-making in conditions of constitutional and political uncertainty in the UK and Scotland: Evidence from business interim report
MacKay, B., Mar 2014, Economic and Social Research Council , p. 1-8, 8 p.
Examining the process of legitimising corporate sustainability within the organisation: towards a Generalised Legitimising Pathway
MacKay, B. & Ivory, S., 2014.


  • –present
    Professor of Strategy, School of Management, University of St Andrews