Mari Sako is Professor of Management Studies at Saïd Business School and Professorial Fellow at New College, University of Oxford. Her main areas of expertise include global strategy, comparative business systems, institutional analysis, outsourcing and offshoring, legal services market, and globalisation of professional services firms.
Her most recent research is on professional services, in particular the role of accountants and lawyers inside business corporations and the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on business models in legal services. Her research on the globalisation of legal services and its impact on the professions has led to her becoming member of the advisory board of Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. During 2011-12, she was President of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE).
With over 25 years of research in the area of global strategy, Mari earlier made a significant contribution to the understanding of the Japanese economy and Japanese firms. In the 1990s and 2000s, she was a researcher for the MIT International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP), which gave her a valuable opportunity to be out in the field, observing and interviewing managers and workers at automakers in Japan, Europe and the USA. Drawing on lessons from the Japanese model, she then worked with a number of firms to reconfigure their supplier relationships. Insights from the fieldwork to understand lean production and quality control are also informing her more recent work on what professionals such as lawyers do. Her research has been published in the form of five books and numerous journal articles.