Dr Shasha Zhao
Academic and research departmentsDepartment of Strategy and International Business.
Dr Zhao is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of International Business and Innovation in the Department of Strategy and International Business, Surrey University Business School. She is an Associate of Centre for International Business and Development at Sussex University, UK. She was a Visiting Research Fellow at Sussex University Business School (01/2020-04/2020). She previously held positions at University of London, Plymouth University and Middlesex University. Her research focuses on global innovation strategy and knowledge management of multinationals in and from emerging economies, and impact on sustainable development.
Dr Zhao is Associate Editor of Asian Business and Management and Senior Editor of European Journal of International Management and an active editorial board member of Management International Review, and regular reviewer of several IB journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, British Journal of Management, International Business Review, Cross Cultural and Strategic Management, and Management and Organization Review.
She has published in various elite journals, including Journal of World Business (ABS4), International Business Review (ABS3), Asia Pacific Journal of Management (ABS3), Human Resource Management Journal (ABS4), International Marketing Review (ABS3), Thunderbird International Business Review (ABS2) and Critical Perspectives on International Business (ABS2). She has also published in AIB UKI Palgrave Book Series. Her lead-authored paper on multinational R&D in emerging Asia won the Best Paper Award at Euro-Asia Management Studies Association (EAMSA) Annual Meeting, 2019.
Contribution to Sustainable Development:
Dr Zhao is Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Academy of International Business Sustainability Shared Interest Group (S-SIG). She is also one of four long-standing organizing committee member of CYGNA – a global women academics support network with over 300 members.
Dr Zhao was part of the Inaugural Panel entitled: Investment in Sustainable Recovery, co-organized by Academy of International Business (AIB) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to discuss research and policy implication for a more sustainable post-covid recovery.
Dr Zhao is currently editing a Special Issue in International Business Review (ABS3) on the topic of: MNE Innovation for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and a Special Issue in AIB Insights (official AIB journal) on the topic of: Managing Sustainable Development in International Business. She also edited a Special Issue entitled: Do MNEs contribute to, or reduce inequality?, which has been published in Critical Perspectives on International Business (ABS2).
In her spare time, Dr Zhao is a semi-professional badminton player, playing county league matches under Badminton England. She also enjoys playing golf and piano.
Inaugural Track Co-Chair: Sustainability and International Business, Academy of International Business Annual Meeting, Miami, USA, 2021
Conference Track Co-Chair: How Digital Innovation Leads to Inclusivity and Sustainable Development Resilience, International Conference on Sustainable Development, Columbia University, New York, 09/2021
Dr Zhao's current research centres on innovation and knowledge management of multinationals in and from emerging economies. She is also passionate about conducting research into the wider sustainability implications of MNE R&D and innovation activities. Most recently, she has been exploring digital technologies and industry 4.0 in international business and sustainable development.
Dr Zhao has published in a wide range of journals including Journal of World Business, International Business Review, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Human Resource Management Journal, International Marketing Review, Critical Perspectives on International Business, and Thunderbird International Business Review. She is currently working on several papers for Journal of World Business, Journal of International Business Studies, and International Business Review. Her lead-authored paper on innovation in emerging Asia won the Best Paper Award at Euro-Asia Management Studies Association (EAMSA) Annual Meeting, 2019.
Currently editing a Special Issue in International Business Review (ABS3) on the topic of: MNE Innovation for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Currently editing a Special Issue in AIB Insights (Official AIB Journal) on the topic of: Managing Sustainable Development in International Business
Edited a Special Issue entitled: Do MNEs contribute to, or reduce inequality?, which has been published in Critical Perspectives on International Business (ABS2).
Associate Editor - Asian Business and Management
Senior Editor - European Journal of International Management
Editorial Review Board - Management International Review; Cross Cultural and Strategic Management; International Journal of Emerging Markets
Reviewer responsibility - Journal of International Business Studies; British Journal of Management, International Business Review; Journal of International Management; Asia Pacific Journal of Management; Management and Organization Review, etc
Reviewer responsibility - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Insight Grant, B&M Track)
Postgraduate research supervision
Dr Zhao has successfully supervised and examined PhD students in the past.
Dr Zhao welcomes prospective PhD students who have research interests in the following areas to get in touch:
Area 1: Multinationals' innovation, knowledge management, and R&D strategies;
Area 2: Internationalization/OFDI of emerging-economy multinationals;
Area 3: Sustainability implications of multinationals' innovation/R&D activities in host economies
Area 4: Digital technologies and industry 4.0 in international business and impact on sustainable development
Area 5: Broad area concerning multinationals originated from advanced and emerging economies
Postgraduate research supervision
Dr Zhao currently supervises two PhD students.
Toyosi Phillips, Topic: EMNE R&D internationalization in Africa
Ehsan Parhizkar, Topic: Global value chain innovation of pharmaceutical multinationals
Dr Zhao's teaching focus is in the areas of international business, multinationals' innovation strategy and sustainability implications of multinationals' operations in host economies. She has extensive teaching experience (over 10 years) at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Additionally, she acts as an external examiner to Greenwich University, UK.
Dr Zhao's pedagogical ethos is underpinned by the idea of empowering individual students to develop into independent learners who possess critical business and management thinking and analytical skills. In 2014, she was nominated by students for the 'The Most Empowering Teacher Award'.
Dr Zhao is the module convenor of MAN2096 International Business, which is taught in Semester 1 of each year, and a member of the University Ethics Committee.
The life‐blood of most organizations is knowledge. Too often, the very mechanisms set up to facilitate knowledge flow militate against it. This is because they are instituted in a top‐down way, they are cumbersome to manage and the bridges of trust fail to get built. In their thirst for innovation, the tendency is for firms to set up elaborate transmission channels and governance systems. As a result, staff are drowned in a deluge of mundane intranet messages and bewildered by matrix structures, while off‐the‐wall ideas and mould‐breaking insights are routinely missed. Added to this is the challenge of operating across professional, cultural, regional and linguistic boundaries, where ways of sharing knowledge differ markedly, even within the same project team. Drawing upon extensive research with scientists in the ATLAS collaboration (a high‐energy particle physics experiment comprising 3,500 scientists from 38 countries), we explore five paradoxes associated with knowledge exchange in global networks. Each paradox leads to a proposition which takes the theory and practice of knowledge management in a fresh direction. We conclude by outlining a number of HRM priorities for international knowledge‐intensive organizations.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to engage in a comprehensive review of the research on information technology (IT)-mediated international market-entry alliances. Design/methodology/approach This paper provides a theory-informed conceptual framework of IT-enabled cross-border interfirm relationships and performance outcomes. It integrates perspectives of resource-based view (RBV) and transaction cost economics (TCE) to argue that the establishment of interfirm IT capabilities enhances the marketing performance of the foreign partner in the host location by improving interfirm relationship governance. Furthermore, IT-related risks and contextual restrictions are identified as important moderators. Findings Conceptualisations of IT capabilities, IT-enhanced interfirm governance, and IT-led marketing performance improvement are suggested. Drawing on RBV and TCE, IT resources, related human resources, and IT integration between partner firms in combination enhances the ability of firms to manage the relationship more effectively through shared control, interfirm coordination, cross-firm formalisation, and hybrid centralisation. These benefits then bring about better upstream and downstream marketing performance in the host location. Additionally, IT capabilities help to mitigate possible contextual limitations and risks. Research limitations/implications The paper offers a number of theory- and literature-informed research propositions which can be empirically tested in future studies. Practical implications Top managers of firms currently in or planning to enter international alliances for market entry should carefully consider effective development of interfirm IT capabilities in terms of readiness of hardware and software, human resources, and organisational resources. Originality/value The paper provides an integrated framework and propositions which contribute to limited understanding and appreciation of IT value in international market-entry alliances.
Knowledge is critical to the survival of emerging economy multinationals (EMNEs), who are confronted by a lack of internal competitive capabilities and external challenges associated with diverse institutional environments. They thus must manage and orchestrate their knowledge globally for ultimate catch up. This article systematically reviews literature concerning EMNE knowledge management using content analysis of 93 articles in 17 leading journals across 7 major disciplines from 2000 to 2020. Applying the antecedent-process-outcome (APO) framework, we identify three major themes: knowledge-seeking strategy, knowledge transfer and innovation. We discuss knowledge frontier issues, directions for future scholarship, and avenues for greater interdisciplinary cross-fertilization.
This perspective article highlights some major implications of the recent pandemic (Covid-19) on global value chains (GVCs) and how the pandemic can accelerate the adoption of digital and industry 4.0 technologies in GVCs, with attention paid to multinational enterprises (MNEs) and small-medium enterprises (SMEs). Particularly, it discusses the potential value of digital technologies in enhancing GVC resilience for better mitigation of disruptions caused by future global shocks. It also proposes useful avenues for future policy considerations to support and direct deployment of digital technologies across key stakeholders in GVCs.
Innovation performance of multinational corporations (MNCs) derives from access to and utilization of a combination of explorative and exploitative knowledge across heterogeneous settings. These settings increasingly encompass flagship industries in emerging economies. There is limited research, however, that scrutinizes the processes of knowledge sourcing within such dynamic host environments, taking into account MNCs’ differing location capabilities. We draw on the concept of ambidexterity – the combination of exploration and exploitation – and the microfoundations approach to study eleven MNCs in the Bulgarian software development industry by focusing on their local R&D projects. We extend the explanatory capacity of ambidexterity at the micro level and clarify the relationship between exploration and exploitation by identifying four types of ambidexterity: global knowledge differentiator, global-local knowledge integrator, emerging local-global integrator, and local knowledge integrator. Our typology is underpinned by three specific dimensions of R&D capabilities: technical know-how, scope of expertise, and market potential.
In line with the recent shift of R&D internationalization towards developing Asia, this Perspective paper reviews, contextualises, and evaluates the evolving patterns of creation, transfer, and assimilation of knowledge in multinational enterprises (MNEs). A typology is proposed consisting of four stylized nodes: West (industrialized mature economies), East One (emerging industrializing economies of developing Asia), East Two (Asian economies at an earlier stage of industrialization), and East Three (Asian economies with limited visible signs of industrialization). Within these nodes, this paper applies an institution-based view to discuss their diverse national innovation environment (with particular attention paid to governments, indigenous firms, and institutional conditions), and the network perspective to propose an intra-regional knowledge hierarchy, reflecting dynamic knowledge links.
Intensified competition means that multinational enterprises (MNEs) are increasingly concerned with locating innovation activities in the most appropriate locations. This had led to emerging economies in the South becoming an important destination of R&D-related foreign direct investment (FDI), departing from their traditional role as low-cost production sites. Thus far, however, our understanding of this transformation process is limited. The purpose of this article is therefore to explore the process by which foreign MNEs’ low-value-adding operations in the South are transformed into high-value-adding R&D operations. Drawing on the current literature, we construct a framework of evolution consisting of four major waves of R&D internationalization and corresponding R&D objectives. To better understand how these waves have evolved over time, we focus on the South and trace the process of change using a single historical case study: AstraZeneca in China between 1993 and 2017. We find evidence of idiosyncratic location-bound conditions offering both opportunities and resources. The gradual development of these favourable conditions, along with AstraZeneca’s deepening local knowledge, triggered a transformation process in their operations in China. Our study thus offers important historical insights, which present a platform for future research providing more nuanced theoretical explanations of the four waves of R&D internationalization.
Currently Editing a Special Issue on the topic of: MNE Innovation for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in International Business Review (ABS3)
Currently Editing a Special Issue on the topic of: Managing Sustainable Development in International Business, in AIB Insights (Official AIB Journal)
Edited a Special Issue entitled: Do MNEs contribute to, or reduce inequality?, in Critical Perspectives on International Business. This Issue is featured on Emerald’s Responsible Leadership webpage and offers free access: https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/our-goals/responsible-management/responsible-leadership
Current research projects:
Innovation and knowledge management of MNEs from emerging economies
Internationalization of state-owned enterprises
MNE innovation and knowledge management in emerging economies
MNEs and upgrading innovation capability of emerging-economy’s peripheral regions
EMNEs' learning and catch up
EMNE knowledge-seeking strategy abroad
International political economy in IB
Selected recent publications:
2021, Digital technologies and industry 4.0 for global value chain resilience: Lessons learned and ways forward, Thunderbird International Business Review, online first
2021, Ambidexterity in MNC knowledge sourcing in emerging economies: A microfoundational perspective, International Business Review, online first
2021, Do MNEs contribute to, or reduce global inequality? Critical Perspectives on International Business
2020, MNE R&D internationalization in developing Asia, Asia Pacific Journal of Management
2019, The internationalization of innovation towards the South: A historical case study of a global pharmaceutical corporation in China (1993-2017), Asia Pacific Journal of Management
2019, Healthy cities and sustainable innovation, Encyclopedia of UN Sustainable Development Goals, Springer: Cham
2018, Unfolding intra-organizational perception gap in decision making between headquarters and subsidiaries, in (Eds) Castellani, et. al, Contemporary Issues in International Business: Institutions, Strategy and Performance, The Academy of International Business (UKI Chapter) Book Series, Palgrave MacMillan
2018, Does subsidiary role determine subsidiary technology? Empirical evidence from China, Journal of Economia Politica
2017, Managing five paradoxes of knowledge exchange in networked organisations: new priorities for HRM? Human Resource Management Journal
2017, Information technology and marketing performance within international market-entry collaborations: a review and an integrated conceptual framework, International Marketing Review
2017, The problem of constructive dis-alignment in international management education: An integrative approach to enhancing teaching and learning, Journal of Teaching in International Business