SDI 2019 Scholar Profiles

photo - Wendy ChenWendy is a Ph.D. student studying public policy at George Mason University. Coming from an international background with extensive education and work experience in multi-national corporations, media, and the government, Wendy is strong in conducting academic research with cross-disciplinary approaches and multi-methods. These experiences also give her a unique perspective and allow her to provide actionable policy and managerial implications based on her research findings.

In her academic work, she has examined entrepreneurship ecosystem, crowdfunding and social entrepreneurship, cross-sector partnerships, the gig economy, etc. Wendy is sophisticated in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and her research has been presented at multiple top academic conferences and featured in academic journals.

In addition to her research, she enjoys teaching. Wendy has extensive experience teaching undergraduate to doctorate level courses and has had her unique teaching methodology published in a top American education journal. In her leisure time, you can find her golfing, fishing, hiking, and traveling. Viewing life as an entrepreneurial experience, she is always on the lookout for breakthrough research opportunities.

Project: Corporate Social Business in China

Multiple media outlets have voiced the concern that China is going to replace the US as the shepherd of human and environmental sustainability on the international stage. However, questions exist as to how Chinese corporations implement corporate social responsibility. This research project examines how corporations implement corporate social responsibility in China.

More specifically, the project plans on looking into the different practices these companies partake in including shared value, social enterprises, philanthropy etc. across various industries. In addition, this project also delves into how corporations in China work with the government to improve the state of the environment, human rights protection, and society's general well-being via corporate social responsibility.

This project does not only present a thorough understanding of China's practice in corporate social business but more importantly it provides insights on how the U.S. can be more competitive in enhancing corporate social responsibility in the global market.

SDI Mentor: John Forrer

photo - Iasmin GoesIasmin is a Ph.D. candidate in Government at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies how governments spend money. Specifically, her research investigates how incumbents allocate revenue from natural resources and how these allocation decisions, in turn, can improve (or impair) public welfare. Iasmin is also affiliated with UT’s Department of Statistics and is particularly excited about methods for time series and event history analysis.

Before coming to Texas, she studied Latin American politics at the Free University of Berlin (with a stint at the University of São Paulo). She was born in Salvador, Bahia and grew up in various parts of Germany and Brazil.

Project: (How) Do Natural Resources Affect the Behavior of Financial Markets?

What is the relationship between sovereign credit markets and natural resource wealth? Anecdotal evidence suggests that natural resources can give credibility to otherwise incredible commitments. For example, Brazil and Angola have borrowed money using their oil revenue as a collateral, while Mozambique recently promised its Eurobond creditors a share of future offshore gas revenues.

However, it is unclear whether these promises really affect the decision of bondholders. How do bondholders make decisions in resource-rich countries, and what signals do they expect to receive from the government before purchasing a bond?

Previous research has shown that natural resource wealth is detrimental for the quality of institutions: it makes autocracies more stable, erodes the quality of domestic institutions, stunts economic development, and is associated with the onset of civil wars. However, resource wealth also has the potential to attract foreign investment and increase (or decrease) governments’ credibility in international markets — a potential that remains understudied.

SDI Mentor: Stephen Kaplan

photo - Runqian LiuRunqian is joining the Ph.D. program in Strategy and Global Management (SGMA) at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, in Fall 2019. His research focuses on international entrepreneurship (IE). He investigates the international strategy of small and medium-sized enterprises that enter foreign market early in their lifecycle. He is interested in how international young ventures learn and develop their capabilities, as well as handle the relationships with their global key accounts. He is also interested in the influence of entrepreneurship and family ownership on the internationalization of those firms.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Runqian earned his Master of Science in Management degree at Brock University, Canada, and his bachelor degree in Management in Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.

Project: How do Weaker Suppliers Dance with Global Key Accounts? Evidence from Chinese Cases

How do small, young ventures from emerging markets survive and grow in global value chain (GVC) activities? Faced with a GVC orchestrating firm with dominant power and key firm-specific advantages, small and medium-sized enterprises involved in the low value-added activities in the GVCs typically fall in a vulnerable position in their relationship with the orchestrating firm and are dubbed weaker suppliers.

Weaker suppliers are, presumably, subjective to the control and governance of the orchestrating firm over various approaches, such as relational and power governance (Kano, 2018). GVC literature has predominantly taken the perspective of the orchestrating firms, and describes how they externalize and coordinate their value chain activities to GVC participants in the global market to maximize the efficiency of the whole GVC and their own rents.

In this project, the authors take the perspective of the weaker suppliers and see how they react upon the governance of their global key accounts. On the one hand, weaker suppliers would have to subjugate the margin to their survival and comply with the power governance from the orchestrating firm. On the other hand, they would have to embed themselves deeper into the GVC for a greater opportunity of learning and capability upgrading (Gulati & Sytch, 2007).

By investigating the dynamic relationship between orchestrating firms and weaker suppliers in multiple case studies, this project aims to reveal how weaker suppliers adjust their strategies and positions in GVCs. Do weaker suppliers have a choice? If they do, what are the key decision criteria? Do they even manage a portfolio of GVC participation for their own interest regardless of the efficiency of the individual GVCs?

SDI Mentor: Pradeep Rau

photo - Justin MunozJustin is a doctoral student with a concentration in Marketing at The University of Texas at El Paso. He earned his MBA from The University of Texas at El Paso and has worked extensively in the training and sales fields. He has extensive experience in functional and teaching roles in both the private sector and academia. His research interests include sales and training, sales management, branding and advertising, and sports marketing.

Project: Oh, How Times Are Changing: A View of How Sales Performance Is Affected by Changes in Economic Unions, Advertising and Country Differences

The research question is: “Do changes in trade pacts or monetary/economic unions (i.e. NAFTA and European Union) create decreased sales performance for internationally competitive organizations and is this relationship moderated by current business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) advertising and branding as well as country specific differences?” The focus of this project is to show how sales performance among employees and firms will change (our hypothesis is that it will decrease) as economic unions and trade pact countries go through changes and turmoil.

An example of this would be the changing NAFTA agreement and the entrance and exit of countries to the European Union. The study also includes different types of advertising (B2B vs. B2C) as a moderator as well as differences among countries based on culture.

SDI Mentor: Pradeep Rau

photo - Hanna NiczyporukHanna Niczyporuk is a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, where she specializes in Political Economy and Quantitative Methods. In her doctoral research she focuses on how the interactions between firms, investors and politicians shape environmental policies and drive sustainable energy transitions. In particular, she studies the preferences of firms for environmental regulations and factors that influence their investment in abatement.

Hanna graduated from University College London and Barcelona Graduate School of Economics with degrees in Economics. Previously, she conducted economic and capital markets research for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and worked as an economist for the British government.

Project: Financing Polluters: Insights from a Natural Experiment in the U.S. States

This project will study the interactions between the political strategies of firms in the energy sector and incentive spending by the U.S. state legislators. A particular question is whether politically involved firms receive preferential treatment, to include state subsidies and tax breaks.

The project is motivated by a gap in the literature on the political activity of firms and state-level incentive spending on environmental issues. Few studies investigated how states decide which firms and industries to target, how much money they spend and whether firms are able to leverage political spending to influence the size and incidence of the governmental subsidies. This is an important omission, since states play a key role in advancing renewable energy transitions and state legislators have power to influence competitive advantage of firms.

SDI Mentor: Jorge Rivera

photo - Amin SabzeharAmin Sabzehzar is a Ph.D. student in Management of Information Systems at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU). Before joining ASU, Amin earned his MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. His research interest includes theoretical and empirical analysis of microfinance markets. In particular, he focuses on international crowdfunding platforms that facilitate funding for small businesses in developing countries.

Amin won ASU 2018 Advocacy Award for his research on online microfinance platform to deliver financing to people at the time of a crisis.

Project: An Empirical Approach to Understand the Impact of Refugees on Host Country Population Preferences

With a growing number of refugees, it is crucial to understand the impact of stateless people on the socio-economic status of countries. In 2017, the number of refugees reached the highest level ever recorded. It was nearly 19.9 million refugees (The UN Refugee Agency, 2019: end of 2017 statistics), from which 1.4 million were considered for reallocation from their asylum country to a third country (UNHCR, 2018).

Notably, the initial placement of refugees is associated with the long run employment, education and welfare outcomes for both refugees and the host country. In this study, the authors seek to understand the impact of refugees on the host population preferences by investigating the dynamics of prosocial crowdfunding platforms. The research will focus on underlying cultural mechanisms that affect the shift in population preferences due to the refugee’s settlement.

SDI Mentor: Elizabeth Chacko