James J. Maloney, 44, the head of a political and management consulting firm that bears his name, died Saturday at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital in Arlington. He had a disorder of the digestive system.

Mr. Maloney was born in Kansas City, Mo., and reared in Washington. He attended Sidwell Friends School and St. John's College High School. He also attended Georgetown University and graduated from American University.

After service in the Army intelligence corps, he joinedthe staff of Sen Birch Bayh (D-Ind) in 1963 as an adviser on Indiana and national politics.

In 1969, Mr. Maloney left Byh's staff and started his own business, James J. Maloney and Associates, which specialized in representing architectural and engineering companies in Washington. He headed the firm until his death.

He also assisted Bayh in the latter's unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976 and in his successful campaign for reelection to the Senate in 1974.

Mr. Maloney was a member of the Arlington Jaycees and of the parish of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington.

Survivors include his wife, the former Bonnie McJilton, of the home in Arlington; two sons, Gregory W. and Christopher P., and a daughter, Mary Clare, all of the home; his mother, Madeline F. Maloney, of Washington, and two brothers, Walter H. Jr., of Beltsville, and Thomas P., of Arlington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hospice of Northern Virginia, 2666 N. Military Rd., Arlington, 22207. CAPTION: Picture, James J. Maloney