Professor J.A.S.K Jayakody: Sri Lanka lost one of the best management scholars

Thursday, 3 September 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Professor J.A.S.K. Jayakody 



The year 2020 can be considered as one of the most influential years for the world and for Sri Lanka. Now we have lost one of the most influential scholars in management in Sri Lanka. Professor J.A.S.K. Jayakody served as the Director of the IHRA and he was a Professor in the Faculty of Management and Finance, the University of Colombo at the time of his demise. He completed B.Sc. in Management (Public) Special from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and MBA and Ph.D. from the Postgraduate Institute of Management of the same university. He is a Commonwealth Fellow as well.

Best scholar in our time 

As a professor in Management Studies, I considered Professor J.A.S.K. Jayakody as the best scholar in management in our time. The vacuum he has created cannot be filled because of many reasons. He has published his articles in most of the prestigious journals in the world. Publishing in journals like International Journal of Bank Marketing, Journal of Management Development, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Contemporary Management Research, Journal of Knowledge Management and Management Decision is a rare chance for the academic and you need to have your own defined capabilities and skills for that. And more importantly, he has served as a member of the editorial board of Leadership, Contemporary Management Research, Sri Lankan Journal of Management, and many other journals. 

Professor Jayakody is one of the confident researchers I have seen in my life. His knowledge of research methodology and conceptualisation cannot be matched to anyone in business research in Sri Lanka. I was really fortunate to become his student of my Master’s dissertation at the University of Colombo and I managed to win the Gold Medal for the subject under the mentoring of Professor Jayakody. He was our lecturer as well for Colombo MBA for the subject of research methodology. His knowledge, reading, delivery with examples with proper synthesising cannot be matched. Professor Jayakody always encouraged us to publish articles in quality journals. 

I could remember in the stage I was reading my Ph.D. I had a problem of linking Customer Relationship Orientation (CRO) into transformational leadership behaviour of manager for better relationship marketing. In my meeting with him he has sketched a conceptual model with multiple associations between variables in a small piece of paper. That is all about the skill of ‘conceptualisation’ which was his Unique Selling Propositon (USP).

In research he always comes up with solutions with multiple justifications. Professor J.A.S.K. Jayakody is conversant in both qualitative and qualitative research methodologies which is rare in current academia. He is always willing to share his knowledge to other institutes as well. This can be clearly demonstrated by the service he has given as the capacity of Head, Research Centre at Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), the University of Sri Jayewardenepura for last seven years. By organising monthly seminar series at PIM he has shown the value of disseminating knowledge which can be considered as one of the turning points for budding researchers.


It is unusual to see great academics with administrative skills. If you revisit the Sri Lankan education sector for the last five decades, you would remember only a few professors like Professor V.K. Samaranayake, Professor Gunapala Nanayakkara, etc. Professor Jayakody also can be categorised as one of the transformational leaders with the qualities of Individualised Consideration, Inspirational Motivation, Idealised Influence, Intellectual stimulation (which he taught me as a lecturer for leadership and he practiced them as well). He has served as the Unit Coordinator, Postgraduate and Mid-career Development Unit and the Head, Department of Management and Organisation Studies, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo. The time he served as MBA Coordinator at the Faculty of Management and Finance, The University of Colombo was the golden time in Colombo MBA as many initiatives been taken to improve the quality of program in terms of teaching and learning, research, curriculum and course delivery. As Director, Institute of Human Resource Advancement, University of Colombo he has done many changes to position the institute as one of the best in Sri Lanka in the HR profession.


He is a great humane as well. If you have a problem with research methodology, conceptualisation or data analysis Professor Jayakody is the first name that comes to your mind. The friendly approach and the way he talked to others can be remembered forever. I can remember whatever the time I met him he simply asked “kohomada mallie” (How are you brother?) which is really unique from many so-called intellectuals. One of the articles published by Professor Jayakody in the Journal of Management Development discussed “Charismatic leadership in Sri Lankan business organisations”. There is a need for Sri Lankan academia in management to have a “read” on charismatic leadership in Sri Lankan educational institutes remembering the contribution of Professor J.A.S.K. Jayakody.

Respect by practicing 

Professor J.A.S.K. Jaykody taught us many lessons. He has done his part as scholar for the country and for the world. We need to understand the qualities of such intellectuals and keep practicing values to respect him. 

(The writer is Professor in Management Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka. You can reach Professor Abeysekera on


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