MOR Special issues

Call for Proposals: Heterogeneity among Chinese SOEs

Guest Editors

David Zhu, Arizona State University

Kenneth G. Huang, National University of Singapore

Runtian Jing, Shanghai Jiaotong University

Jun Xia, University of Texas at Dallas

Cyndi Man Zhang, Singapore Management University

Weiguo Zhong, Peking University

Although state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China account for nearly a quarter of Fortune Global 500 corporations and play increasingly important roles in the global economy, only limited research has examined Chinese SOEs (e.g., Jia, Huang, & Zhang, 2019; see review by Bruton, Peng, Ahlstrom, Stan, & Xu, 2015). Among existing studies, the majority has focused on comparing Chinese SOEs with non-SOEs, leaving the heterogeneity among Chinese SOEs largely unexplained. The limited knowledge about sources and consequences of SOEs’ differences reflects a crucial gap in Chinese management theory and research, which has produced limited insights into differences in one of the most influential organization forms in business history. Without addressing this issue, management scholars also have limited abilities to contribute to managerial practices and public policies about the management of SOEs.  

Potential Topics

This special issue welcomes both qualitative and quantitative studies about heterogeneity among Chinese SOEs in major organizational practices, decisions, and performance outcomes, especially studies that address major issues faced by SOEs and explain key sources of heterogeneity among them. We welcome studies that seek to develop indigenous theories about Chinese SOEs (Bruton, Zahra, Van de Ven, & Hitt, 2021), significantly advance existing theories, or offer a theoretical explanation for important phenomena, including but not limited to the following topics:

1.Soft versus hard budget constraints; stakeholder relations; social, environmental, and financial performance; sustainability; corporate social responsibility.

2.Differences between central versus local SOEs.

3.Differences between SOEs that are fully vs. partially controlled by the state; SOE’s mixed-ownership reform; antecedents and consequences of SOEs’ mixed ownership.

4.Corporate governance and strategic leadership of SOEs (e.g., boards of directors and supervisors of SOEs, influence of the Chinese Communist Party, executive compensation, and executive turnover and succession) .

5.SOEs’ mergers and acquisitions.

6.SOEs’ strategic alliances, especially with small- and medium-sized non-SOEs that are identified by the government to be leading niche players (专精特新小巨人、单项冠军).

7.Innovation and knowledge management; research and development (R&D) and other technology management issues.

8.Corporate entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial strategy of SOEs.

9.Competition; competitive dynamics; multi-market competition.

10.Strategic human resource management. 

11.Institutional innovation of SOEs; institutional transformation of SOEs; institutional complexity of SOEs.

12.Business ecosystem; business-model innovation; platform strategies.

13.Digital transformation of SOEs.

14.SOEs’ crisis management (e.g., in response to significant disasters and adversities).

15.SOEs’ roles in key national undertakings.

16.Geopolitics, international relations, and SOEs’ globalization; geographic and international diversification; global strategies; CSR of SOEs in the global market. 

Special Issue Timeline

1.Proposal Submission (deadline April 2022): The preliminary proposal should specify the targeted data source, format, develop intended research questions, and justify the motivation. Please submit proposals to David Zhu ( with the subject line: ‘MOR Heterogeneity among Chinese SOEs Proposal’.  

2.Paper Development Workshop for Accepted Proposals (July 2022): Accepted proposals will be invited to a developmental workshop to further refine the focused research questions based on the secured data source. At the end of the workshop, we will extend invitations to some promising proposals to submit a revised version of the proposal. 

3.Paper Submission Deadline (December 2022): Please submit full papers via the MOR submission website:

4.Paper Development Workshop for R&R Papers (April 2023): Further revise the Paper with known results and findings. 

5.Publication of the Special Issue (July 2024)

Guest Editors

David H. Zhu is a Professor in Management and Entrepreneurship and Dean’s Council Distinguished Scholar at the Arizona State University. His research builds on behavioral theories to examine strategic decision making of top executives and entrepreneurs, innovation and entrepreneurship, corporate governance, and corporate strategy. He also studies the structure of corporate elite networks and resource exchange networks. His work has been published in Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Corporate Governance: An International Review, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. He is an incoming Deputy Editor of Management and Organization Review and an editorial board member of AMJ, AMR, ASQ, and SMJ. He also serves as Associate Program Chair of the Strategic Leadership and Governance group of the Strategic Management Society and a research committee member of the Strategic Management division of the Academy of Management. 

Kenneth G. Huang is an Associate Professor (with tenure) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the Department of Industrial Systems Engineering and Management and Department of Strategy and Policy, NUS Business School. He is the Academic Director of the Master of Science in Management of Technology at NUS. His research focuses on innovation and technology management, entrepreneurship, intellectual property management and strategy, global strategy, science and technology policy, open science/innovation, and institutional change particularly in emerging economies like China and ASEAN. His research has been published in leading journals such as Science, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Journal of International Business Studies, Research Policy, Nature Biotechnology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), Industrial and Corporate Change, and Journal of Management Studies. He is the incoming Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review and was a co-editor of Journal of Management Studies (for a special Issue). He also serves on the editorial boards of AMJ, SMJ, and JIBS. He earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Runtian Jing is Professor in Organizational Management at the Shanghai Jiaotong University. His research focuses on organizational change, leadership behavior, and cross-cultural management. In recent years, he is especially interested in developing indigenous theories of organizational change based on the Chinese cultural or institutional context. He currently serves as the vice president of the International Association for Chinese Management Research, and Deputy Director Member of Organization and Strategy Division of China Academy of Management. His work has been published in Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, and many other English and Chinese journals. He has won four research projects granted by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and a number of awards including Yangtze River Scholars Distinguished Professor, and the Outstanding Youth Award of Management Research in China. 

Jun Xia is a professor in management and strategy at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research interests include resource dependence and power, institutional theory, social networks, and corporate strategies. His work has been published in or accepted by the Strategic Management Journal, Academy Journal of Management, Organization Science, and Organizational Research Methods. He is an incoming Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review and a review board member of AMR and JIBS. 

Cyndi Man Zhang is an Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University. Her research builds on the intersection of behavioral theories and institutional theories to examine the influence of institutional logics on firms’ strategic choices, the impact of corporate governance on innovation performance, the power struggle and coalition building in strategic decision making, and the pursuit of multiple goals in firm’s decisions of change. Her work has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, and Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Strategic Organization, and Management and Organization Review. 

Weiguo Zhong is Associate Professor of Strategy in Guanghua School of Management at the Peking University. His research interests include firm innovation, non-market strategy, innovation ecosystem, and internationalization strategy of multinational companies from emerging markets. His work has been published in Academy of Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and Journal of Management. He is an incoming Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review. 

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