Goutam Challagalla

Professor of Strategy and Marketing

Goutam Challagalla is Professor of Strategy and Marketing. He focuses on how digital advances and sustainability concerns are impacting companies’ business strategies and approaches to marketing. Having helped companies to rethink their business models and build new capabilities in the face of the digital revolution, he is now helping to integrate sustainability-related challenges and opportunities into their strategy.

His teaching, consulting and research highlight the different challenges facing companies as a result of digital and sustainability transformations. While digital advances require the development of new business models in order to become more effective or efficient, taking on sustainability goals means that organizations have to rethink their whole raison d’être and their relationship with all stakeholders.

He is therefore well placed to help companies prepare for further acceleration in digital and sustainability transformations in the post-pandemic world, particularly by designing strategies that are resilient for today and tomorrow. His research shows how digital breakthroughs can derail businesses, as well as the steps they can take to protect themselves and leverage digital technologies for gain. It also provides insights into how firms can exploit purpose and digital advances to drive sustainability priorities on brand strategies for sustainability and customer centricity, and how to design and lead modern sales organizations in the wake of COVID-19.

Digital is about skilling, doing things faster and cheaper, and building new business models. Sustainability requires you to rethink your fundamental purpose, who you are as an organization, and what your place is in the hearts and minds of your customers and other stakeholders.

Challagalla is currently working on a book on digital pathways for value creation, which examines six ways companies can use digital advances to drive customer value and loyalty.

His research has been published in top marketing and management journals including the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, the Journal of Applied Psychology, and Harvard Business Review. He has also served on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management.

At IMD, he is Director of the Advanced Management Program (AMP), Digital Marketing Strategies (DMS), and Strategy Governance for Boards. He also ran an annual event for chief marketing officers which was attended by CMOs from across Europe (e.g., Tetra Pak, Dow, IBM Europe).

In addition, he has led programs on strategy and marketing issues for clients from a wide range of B2B and B2C industries including AT&T, Bangkok Bank, Beiersdorf, Cargill, GE, Grundfos, Kone, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Reckitt, Tetra Pak, Turner Broadcasting, and Zurich Insurance Group.

Before joining IMD in 2015, Challagalla served for 20 years as a marketing professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, where he was Associate Dean for Executive Education and head of the marketing department. He also worked as Principal at The Monitor Group, a strategy and marketing consulting company.

Selected publications
Article
The joint and multilevel effects of training and incentives from upstream manufacturers on downstream salespeople's efforts
Manufacturers frequently face the challenge of motivating distributor salespeople to focus efforts on their products rather than competitors' products. The present research explores two mechanisms ...
Published 1 August 2020
Article
The online challengers threatening to disrupt the disrupters: Dominant platforms such as Airbnb and Uber are looking ripe for an upset by the ‘DAO’
Many of today’s dominant disrupters, such as Airbnb, Alibaba and Uber, use a platform model, acting as a powerful intermediary between users. So do seven of the 10 most valuable companies in the wo...
Published 10 May 2020
Article
How Coke, Apple and others use marketing doctrine
A number of the world's leading-edge marketing firms – Merck, Coke, Apple, Cisco – have adopted a firm-specific set of marketing principles – which we refer to as Marketing Doctrine – to guide the ...
Published 17 June 2015
Article
Marketing doctrine: A principles-based approach to guiding marketing decision making in firms
The authors introduce and examine a new marketing concept that a small set of leading firms has begun to adopt: marketing doctrine. Marketing doctrine refers to a firm’s unique principles, distille...
Published 1 July 2014
Article
Implementing changes in marketing strategy: The role of perceived outcome and process-oriented supervisory actions
This study investigates the role of supervisors in implementing changes in marketing strategy. The authors propose that perceptions of outcome-oriented supervisory actions influence salespeople’s p...
Published 1 August 2012
Article
Proactive postsales service: When and why Does It Pay Off?
Proactive postsales service (PPS) refers to a supplier taking the initiative to contact a customer to provide service¦after a sale is complete. It is argued that PPS leads to faster delivery of ser...
Published 1 March 2009
Academic publications
Article
Information transparency as competitive advantage: Research approaches to platform ecosystem design and competition
This paper explores a research agenda based on the Jaworski and Patel (2020) interview.
Published 1 June 2020
Article
Characteristics that enhance training effectiveness in implementing technological change in sales strategy: A field-based exploratory study
Organizations are increasingly emphasizing online sales channels over traditional offline sales channels. This research examines how training influences a salesperson’s ability to manage such a tec...
Published 1 May 2010
Article
The impact of simulation training on call center agent performance: A field-based investigation
The most prevalent form of training call center agents is via classroom instruction coupled with roleplays. Role-play training has a theoretical base in behavior modeling that entails observation, ...
Published 1 February 2008
Article
Proactive postsales service: When and why Does It Pay Off?
Proactive postsales service (PPS) refers to a supplier taking the initiative to contact a customer to provide service¦after a sale is complete. It is argued that PPS leads to faster delivery of ser...
Published 1 March 2009
Article
The moderating influence of firm market power on the transaction cost economics model: An empirical test in a forward channel integration context
Transaction cost economics (TCE) has guided a variety of research on governance in the strategic management literature. An important question arises, however, as to whether the TCE framework is equ...
Published 1 January 2007
Article
Strategic account management: Conceptualizing, integrating, and extending the domain from fluid to dedicated accounts
This paper proposes a conceptualization of strategic account management that integrates and builds upon several related literatures (e.g., key account management, national account management, major...
Published 1 February 2012
Article
Adapting motivation, control, and compensation research to a new environment
The authors discuss the need to adapt research in three substantively related but paradigmatically diverse research domains¦(salesperson motivation, control systems, and compensation) in light of t...
Published 1 January 2005
Article
The threat from within: Account managers' concern about opportunism by their own team members
It is well known that transaction-specific investments (TSIs) made in customers by account managers makes them vulnerable to opportunism by customers (i.e., the targets of the investments). The pre...
Published 1 September 2011
Article
Implementing changes in marketing strategy: The role of perceived outcome and process-oriented supervisory actions
This study investigates the role of supervisors in implementing changes in marketing strategy. The authors propose that perceptions of outcome-oriented supervisory actions influence salespeople’s p...
Published 1 August 2012
Article
Marketing doctrine: A principles-based approach to guiding marketing decision making in firms
The authors introduce and examine a new marketing concept that a small set of leading firms has begun to adopt: marketing doctrine. Marketing doctrine refers to a firm’s unique principles, distille...
Published 1 July 2014
Article
Influence tactics for effective adaptive selling
The adaptive selling literature identifies effective salespeople as those who match their influence tactics to suit the characteristics of buyers. However, prior research is largely silent on the s...
Published 1 October 2006
Article
Control system diversity: Implications for selling centers
It is often the case that members of selling centers are governed by different control systems (i.e., some selling¦center members are governed more by behavior ontrolswhile others are governed mor...
Published 1 January 2014
Article
The joint and multilevel effects of training and incentives from upstream manufacturers on downstream salespeople's efforts
Manufacturers frequently face the challenge of motivating distributor salespeople to focus efforts on their products rather than competitors' products. The present research explores two mechanisms ...
Published 1 August 2020
Article
Digitization of healthcare organizations: The digital health landscape and information theory
This paper builds on an integrated framework of digital opportunities, based on information theory that was initially proposed by Claude Shannon: 1) providers of infrastructure for transmitting inf...
Published 1 April 2019
Insight for Executives
Article
Moving the needle on sustainability
Practically every day one company or another announces a new sustainability commitment or launches an ad campaign about how it’s helping people and the planet. Many of those initiatives focus on im...
Published 1 November 2022
Four sustainability strategies for your brand
Article
Four sustainability strategies for your brand
How do the brand sustainability strategies of Tony’s Chocolonely, Nespresso, Volvo and Vanish differ? And how can executives know which strategy to adopt?
Published 2 September 2022
Seven tests of a good strategy: sustainability and agility dominate the agenda
Video
Seven tests of a good strategy: sustainability and agility dominate the agenda
“Kill the buzzwords, ride the wave of transient advantage and think beyond a single stakeholder,” advises Professor of Strategy and Marketing Goutam Challagalla.
Published 15 January 2021
Driving growth in the time of crisis
Video
Driving growth in the time of crisis
Driving growth in the time of crisis webinar with Goutam Challagalla and Misiek Piskorski
Published 19 June 2020
Article
The online challengers threatening to disrupt the disrupters: Dominant platforms such as Airbnb and Uber are looking ripe for an upset by the ‘DAO’
Many of today’s dominant disrupters, such as Airbnb, Alibaba and Uber, use a platform model, acting as a powerful intermediary between users. So do seven of the 10 most valuable companies in the wo...
Published 10 May 2020
Managing extreme uncertainty with agility
Video
Managing extreme uncertainty with agility
Speed is in fact just one of the parts of the puzzle when it comes to agility, as important during COVID as long term
Published 8 May 2020
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Corporate strategy and economic downturns
Video
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Corporate strategy and economic downturns
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Corporate strategy and economic downturns. Companies can apply lessons learned from the past to secure their future.
Published 1 May 2020
Article
Is creating a separate organization to drive digital transformation a red herring?
Virtually all firms are investing heavily in digital initiatives. One key question they grapple with is whether these digital initiatives should be housed in the current business or in a separate o...
Published 12 March 2019