Professor J. Ignacio Canales

Professor J. Ignacio Canales
Chair in Strategic Management


Professor J. Ignacio Canales
Professor J. Ignacio Canales

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273236
The University of Aberdeen University of Aberdeen
School of Business 
MacRobert Building 
Office 805
AB24 5UD
Web Links



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Listen to my podcast series: Escaping Lockdown 

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Strategic Management Society 





J. Ignacio Canales is a Professor of Strategic Management at the business school of the University of Aberdeen. Previously he held posts as Professor, Reader and Senior Lecturer in Strategy at the Adam Smith Business School in the University of Glasgow and at the University of St Andrews. His research interests in strategy process focuses on asymmetric relationships between managers as they interact to formulate and implement strategy. His research has been published in the Journal of Management Studies, British Journal of Management Long Range Planning, Advances in Strategic Management and Academy of Management Review. At the PhD level he teaches a seminar in qualitative methodology, for undergraduates and MBA students offers a course on Strategic Management. Ignacio Canales served as co-chair of the SMS Special conference held in Glasgow in June 2013. He has been a member of the SMS since 2003 when he received the Best PhD paper award in the SMS held in Baltimore. Ignacio also served as a Rep at large, and then as Associate, Program Chair and Chairperson of the Strategy Process IG completing his term in 2017. 

Professor Canales  is the Management Studies Research lead sitting in the Research Committe. Previously, and in other institutions he was Director of MBA Programmes, AMBA Accreditation Champion, Leader of the Strategic Management Cluster, School International Coordinator and Convener of the Research Ethics Committee. He sits in the editorial board of Long Range Planning, Jornal of Management Studies and the Journal of Management. Professor Canales received his PhD from IESE Business School in 2004. 



1999-2004    IESE Business School, University of Navarra. - PhD in Management, Summa Cum Laude

1984-1992    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

- Ingeniero Comercial, Economics and Management. Five-year undergraduate degree.

- Licenciado en Administración de Empresas. Five-year BSc in Management.

2015           Universidade Nacional de Brasilia - PhD in Management Revalidation

2018           Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 


Editorial Service 

  • Editorial Board member Long Range Planning 2017-
  • Editorial Board member Journal of Management 2013-
  • Editorial Board member Journal of Management Studies 2010-




Research Interests

My research interest is Strategic Management and within it I concentrate on the Strategy making Process. 

My research focuses in the relationship and interaction between asymmetric organizational players when they formulate and implement strategy.

I profess that organizations can be managed by strategy because in its genesis lies the capacity to bring organizational players together in coordination to internalize strategy and encourage subsequent action. 

I am happy to consider potential PhD students on all strategic management areas but specially in the broad theme of the social phenomena that underpins implementation of Strategy 

PhD Supervision

PhD finalized passed with minor corrections. 

Dr. Javier Yáñez-Arenas: Thesis title: Service Innovation, Supply Chain Management, Strategy
 2013. Co-supervisor: Prof. Robert Paton

Dr Haitham Jafar. Thesis title: Middle Managers Connectivity in Strategy making, 2016. Co-supervisor: Prof. Robert Paton

Dr Yameng Zhang. Thesis title: Too Comfortable in the Saddle ? CEO Tenure, Board Attributions of Poor Performance and CEO Dismissal, 2017. Co-supervisor: Prof Trevor Buck and Dr Stephan von Delft.

Dr  Abdulaziz A. Alturiqui. Exploring the Relationship between the Components of Transformational Leadership and the Satisfaction of the Followers' Basic Psychological Needs in the Public Sector, 2019. Co-supervisor: Prof Iain Docherty.

Current PhD Supervision

  • Angel Patricio González Prado. MNC strategy
  • Agostinho Abrunhosa. Business Models of Business Schools
  • Noura Alarmy. Leadership 
  • Daniel Chavez. Energy transition and sustainability

Current Research

Video describing my research 


Times they are a-chainging... or so it seems

Toys R'...there's an app for that 


Teaching Responsibilities


My teaching philosophy for years has been to enable learning by encouraging a student led teaching for Strategy and Entrepreneurship. If you attend one of my courses you will get involved rather than being passive. The following quotes illustrate this. 

Tell me and I will forget, Teach me and I will remeber but but Involve me and I will learn wrongly attributed to Benjamin Franklin  

Not having heard of it is not as good as having heard of it. Having heard of it is not as good as having seen it. Having seen it is not as good as knowing it. Knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice. Learning arrives at putting it into practice and then stops.

Original quote found “Xunzi: The Complete Text”


For more detials visit



Further Info

External Responsibilities

Scale Up Scottish Entrepreneurship Programme. 

A warning is in order. The result of this endeavour, albeit positive, is currently in doubt due to covid19 but that doesn’t take anything away from the gallant efforts of our University and the business school to develop entrepreneurship education of the highest standard, standing as equals with the best Scottish Universities. The focus was on Scale Up which is the next stage a start up aims to grow their business. 

In 2017, The SFC launched an initiative to replace and improve a summer school entrepreneurship project carried out in Scotland by MIT. This initiative challenged all Scottish universities to work together. Although we formed part of the working group from the start, we joined with regular trips to the central belt when the project had been stalled in a series of ceremonial meetings for a year. Professors MacGregor and Canales formed part of a small group trying to move forward and resolve ineffective governance. When our suggestion to form a governing board with 15 Scottish Universities was adopted and a Managing and Operational director were appointed which enabled an open call to run a three Scale-Up Teaching Programme in Scotland. Through these years, we counted with the full support of Professor Boyne, our principal. In Nov 2019, we started work to bid for one of these three.

Prof Meyer as the new head of the business school as well as the SVP Prof Leidecker supported every effort. It was no mean task given the business school overstretched resources. However, with the help of Liz Rattray and Jenna McArthur from research and innovation, Professors Canales and Hutchison as well as Lucia Gituntoli from the business school and the invaluable help from Gary McEwan who leads ElevatorUK we formed a winning team. We sought and achieved an ad-hoc partnership with RGU and UHI, attended all preparation workshops, developed an application where Gary McEwan’s help and expertise were instrumental and submitted a join application. Out of the 15 applicants 6 were called for interview and we were one of them, after a week it was announced we had won one of the three Think. Act. Scale. Pathfinder Programmes. Only Strathclyde and Stirling, who have a powerful entrepreneurship education base, won the other two. We were over the moon, as you can imagine, but this happened just two weeks before lockdown and the practicalities of running an experiential programme online and the new needs of the country in the midst of a major recession put all the programme on hold. 

The take aways for our business school and university are may though. We can do entrepreneurship education with our entrepreneurial spirit. We can organise consortia to join forces on entrepreneurship training. We can infuse the spirit of entrepreneurship and can do across the University. Wait and see what’s coming from the business school.


J. Ignacio Canales

Chair in Strategic Management

University of Aberdeen 

School of Business