Dr Shasha Zhao

Dr Shasha Zhao

Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in International Business and Innovation
PhD (Alliance Manchester Business School)
+44 (0)1483 689990
08 MS 03
Email for appointment

Academic and research departments

Department of Strategy and International Business.


My qualifications

PhD in International Business
Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK
MSc in Global Business Analysis
Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK
Master of Philosophy
Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK
BA (Hons) in Management
University of Leeds, UK
PGCert in Higher Education
Higher Education Academy
PG Diploma in Marketing
Chartered Institute of Marketing

Previous roles

Senior Lecturer in International Business
Middlesex University London, UK
Lecturer in International Business
Plymouth University, UK
Fellow in Asia-Pacific Studies
Royal Holloway, University of London, UK


Research interests


Postgraduate research supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

My teaching

My publications


Christopher Mabey, Shasha Zhao (2017)Managing five paradoxes of knowledge exchange in networked organizations: new priorities for HRM?, In: Human Resource Management Journal27(1)pp. 39-57 Wiley

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.

Shasha Zhao, Constantinos-Vasilios Priporas (2017)Information technology and marketing performance within international market-entry alliances, In: International Marketing Review34(1)pp. 5-28 Emerald

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.

Shasha Zhao, Paul N Gooderham, Anne-Wil Harzing, Marina Papanastassiou (2021)Do MNEs contribute to or reduce global inequality? An introduction to the special issue, In: Critical Perspectives on International Business17(1)pp. 1-7 Emerald Publishing Limited
SHASHA ZHAO, Xiaohui Liu, Ulf Andersson, Oded Shenkar (2021)KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT OF EMERGING ECONOMY MULTINATIONALS, In: Journal of world business [e-journal] : JWB Elsevier

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.

Mariana Dodourova, Shasha Zhao, Anne-Wil Harzing (2021)Ambidexterity in MNC knowledge sourcing in emerging economies: A microfoundational perspective, In: International Business Review101854 Elsevier Ltd

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.

Shasha Zhao, Marina Papanastassiou, Robert D. Pearce, Chie Iguchi (2020)MNE R&D internationalization in developing Asia, In: Asia Pacific Journal of Management Springer

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.

Shasha Zhao, Hui Tan, Marina Papanastassiou, Anne-Wil Harzing (2020)The internationalization of innovation towards the South: A historical case study of a global pharmaceutical corporation in China (1993–2017), In: Asia Pacific Journal of Management37(2)pp. 553-585 Springer

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.

Additional publications