John has taught and researched retailing and marketing in universities in the UK, USA, Japan and Australia and has worked on projects with major retail and information technology companies in several countries. John Dawson is Emeritus Professor having previously been holder of the first Chair of Marketing at Edinburgh. In recent years he has been a Visiting Professor at ESADE, Barcelona, at Kobe University and Manchester Business School. He is also Emeritus Professor at the University of Stirling.
Having graduated from University College London in 1965 and 1967, he obtained a PhD in 1970 on European Retailing. John Dawson initially focused on research on locational issues and government intervention in retailing. His research developed into studies of employment and changing retail structures in Europe during the 1970s. A broader interest in retail strategy and marketing was pursued in the 1980s when he was appointed to the first Chair in Distributive Studies in the UK at the University of Stirling. He moved to Edinburgh in 1990.
Current research focuses on the nature of change and innovation in retailing and particularly the international activity of retailers. This involves projects in marketing, strategy and operations.
He is the author of over 20 books and major government reports and around 250 papers in academic and professional journals. In the 1990s he was Chairman of the company responsible for shop operations in the National Museum of Scotland.
Academic research activity has focused on the study of the relationships between the structural and spatial components in distribution systems. The approach has been through the analysis of processes of change in the internal organisation of retail firms and in the interactions of the firms with their external environment.
Collaborations are underway on innovation as a source of retail competition, the internationalisation of European apparel retailing, retailer internationalisation in East Asia, and structural changes in European retailing. These projects are being undertaken jointly with researchers in University of Valencia, Kobe University, and Saitama University, Tokyo.