Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship

The Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship Group (SIBE) hosts 37 faculty members.

Members of the group address questions concerning the ‘creation and exploitation of advantage across boundaries’. Creating advantage builds on research in the group about entrepreneurship, innovation, new combinations, capability development, dealing with uncertainty and change and sense-making. This research often deals with various ways to develop opportunities that can be the basis for new ways to satisfy customers and stakeholders. Relatedly, are the strategies or strategising to defend or sustain a position in the market and among stakeholders.

Members of the group regularly publish in the top journals in each of these three fields (such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of World Business, Journal of Business Venturing), but also in more general management journals, such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Organization Studies. Research at the group is led by its 11 Professors, and is home to over 20 PhD students. Staff members from the group have editorial positions on leading journals, including the International Small Business Journal and Organization Theory, as well as editorial board memberships at Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, and the Journal of World Business.

SIBE group members are involved in the delivery of specialist undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including a BA (Hons) International Business and an MSc International Business, and also contribute to a wide  range of modules to the School’s general management programmes with leading role son the Online MBA, the Online DBA, the Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA, ULMS’s Doctoral Programme and Entrepreneurship modules.


The processes of strategy development, strategic change as well as corporate communication and sensemaking within large mature corporations as a basis for retaining and regaining competitive advantage is the focus of research by the School Dean Professor Julia Balogun as well as Professor Joep Cornelissen. Prof Jordi Surroca’s work intersects strategic management, corporate social responsibility, and corporate governance. Ms Abigail Stewart brings international expertise in law while Professor Terry McNulty has an international reputation for his portfolio of research on corporate governance, board effectiveness, strategic leadership and change in corporations and healthcare organisations. Dr Carola Wolf adds a focus on middle management as well as strategy-practice and and Dr Anup Nair study processual aspects of strategy. MNEs’ strategic choices (investment decision, location choice) and their performance implications under macroeconomic uncertainty and country heterogeneity are examined by Professor Elizabeth Maitland as well as Dr Shubin Wu and both have published their work the Strategic Management Journal as well as other leading academic journals.

International Business

Advantages arising in cross-country settings relate to multinational firm configurations, including the interactions of headquarters and subsidiaries (Professor Balogun, Professor Wolfgang Sofka), Governance (Professor Terry McNulty), the roles of affiliations and alliances, FDI and entry decisions (Dr Andreas Procipiou), the strength of international patent systems (Professor Nikolaos Papageorgiadis, Dr Danai Christopoulou), and legal elites (Dr Jingqi Zhu). Dr Andrew Smith’s research focus in this area is on the evolution of business and financial institutions over time as well as conducting research international knowledge flows.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Group has substantial expertise in creating advantage, in particular through innovation and entrepreneurial ventures. Professor Wolfgang Sofka investigates firms’ searches for innovative ideas and commercialization, including the strategic choices of multinational companies, the hiring of strategic human capital as well as value capturing strategies and the Group has experts in R&D innovation (Dr Paul Ellwood, Dr Hammad Akbar, Dr Drubah Borah, and Dr Aparna Venugopal), technology transfer (Dr Sam Horner), and the role of government affiliation and firm innovativeness (Prof Vasilis Ganotakis).

Group members further study specific characteristics of entrepreneurial and small firms, including their responses to recessions (Professor Robert Blackburn), the life-course and the household as key units of analysis in the study of entrepreneurship (Professor Dilani Jayawarna) as well employment relations (Dr Sara Nadin), and historical research (Dr Andrew Smith). A particular theme in the Group’s entrepreneurship research lies on sustainable and ethical enterprise, leading to insights into prosocial cooperatives and sustainable ventures (Dr Sofia AngelidouDr Allan Macpherson and Dr Alan Southern). These themes are augmented Dr Julia Brennecke’s work on the antecedents and consequences of knowledge transfers within and between complex organisations, for instance within the biotech industry.

Knowledge Exchange

The Brett Centre for Entrepreneurship provides leadership training for owner-managers of growing small firms based in Greater Merseyside. The Growth Catalyst Programme has been delivered to almost 200 local small firms, which have benefitted from substantial increases in turnover.

Commitment to knowledge exchange is also demonstrated by the success of group members in obtaining ESRC CASE awards for projects based in Liverpool Vision, Unilever, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). There are also close links with the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy through the work of Dr Alan Southern.  Research shows the economic value of the social economy to the Liverpool city region generates revenue of around £3 billion per annum with an employment base of around 45,000 people.  Working with the Social Enterprise Network, Alan has established a practitioner group for the social economy in the city region: the Liverpool City Region Social Economy Panel consists of representatives from social enterprises, housing associations, cooperatives and charities and seeks to influence social and economic policies in the city region.  The work of the Panel was presented to the Global Social Economy Forum in Montreal in 2016. Through the Heseltine Institute, Alan has been involved in setting up events on: policy for the social economy, social value and social innovation.

Members of the SIBE Group work closely with business, the public sector and the third sector in impactful research and knowledge exchange. Such activities are funded by a range of national and international funding agencies. Professor Terry McNulty obtained a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to investigate business judgements and the Courts. Dr Jennifer Johns recently obtained an ESRC CASE studentship from the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP). Working with the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), this interdisciplinary research project is entitled ‘Commercialising innovation, knowledge assets and research excellence to enhance local economic development in the Liverpool city-region (LCR).’ This follows Benito’s previous successful CASE awards with Unilever and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Jennifer’s CASE award with Liverpool Vision.

Supporting Postgraduate Research

Dr Dilani Jayawarna is a Reader in Entrepreneurship and is Director of Postgraduate Research the University of Liverpool Management School (ULMS). Approximately 100 students are registered on the Doctoral programme at any one time. Research topics are aligned with the School’s three subject groups: Organisation & Management, Economics, Finance and Accounting, Marketing & Operations. Many students engage in research that is linked into wider social science domains (e.g. music and sociology) as well as the natural sciences (e.g. healthcare and medicine as well as engineering). In addition to thematic diversity, there is substantial breadth of research methods and methodological stances, ranging from econometric modelling to organisational ethnography, encompassing conceptual and empirical work in combination with quantitative as well as qualitative methods. This wide array of work is supported by ULMS’s community of over 130 research active staff offering a broad range of research expertise.

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    Past examples of Seminar Series in Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship Group (SIBE)

    Alina Grecu (Copenhagen Business School), Do offshoring companies pay a wage penalty for having offshored?

    17 June 2020

    Christina Boari, University of Bologna, Opening the innovation process: a multilevel approach

    21 May 2020

    Matthew McCaffrey (Alliance Manchester Business School), Mintzberg’s Critique of the Design School: A Blueprint for the Microfoundations of Strategic Management

    19 February 2020

    Sjoerd Beugelsdijk, University of Groningen, Cultural Roots of Entrepreneurship: Evidence from second-generation immigrants & Publishing in top-tier journals

    5 February 2020

    Prof Jane Lê (WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management), The Origins of 'Organizational' Wrongdoing: Complicity-in-Practice

    12 December 2019

    Prof Sam Aryee (University of Surrey), Servant Leadership and Frontline Employees' Customer Service Performance: A Cross-Level Test of Competing Perspectives

    7 November 2019

    Joep Cornelissen (Rotterdam School of Management), Writing theory papers – a research workshop” & “Morally driven: Organizational character and the pursuit of purpose

    November 2019

    Ammon Salter (University of Bath Management School), The sequence effect on the selection of R&D projects

    24-25 October 2019

    Jeff Reuer (University of Colorado), Foundations and Futures of Strategic Management

    21 October 2019

    Prof Hari Tsoukas (Warwick Business School), Strategy and virtue: Revisiting strategic management through virtue ethics

    17 October 2019

    Dan Prud’homme (EMLV Business School, Paris), Beyond patent quality vs quantity: a strategic perspective on patent policy in China

    18 September 2019

    Prof Christiana Weber (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

    22 May 2019

    Dr Gokhan Ertug (Singapore Management University)

    1 May, 2019

    Prof Jonatan Pinkse (University of Manchester) Business model innovation in the energy industry

    3 April, 2019

    Prof Jacqueline Coyle-Shapiro (LSE), Expanding our understanding of the employee-organization relationship

    20 March, 2019

    Prof Roy Suddaby (ULMS & University of Victoria, Canada), History and the Micro-foundations of Dynamic Capabilities

    22 February 2019

    Selected recent publications:

    Al-Dajani, H., Akbar, H., Carter, S., & Shaw, E. (2019). Defying contextual embeddedness: evidence from displaced women entrepreneurs in Jordan. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 31(3-4), 198-212.

    Tzokas N, Young AK, Akbar H and Al-Dajani H (2015). Absorptive capacity and performance: The role of customer relationship and technological capabilities. 47: 134-142.

    Akbar, H., Baruch, Y. and Tzokas, N., 2018. Feedback Loops as Dynamic Processes of Organizational Knowledge Creation in the Context of the Innovations’ Front‐end. British Journal of Management, 29(3), pp.445-463

    Al-Dajani, H., Akbar, H., Carter, S. and Shaw, E. Defying contextual embeddedness: Evidence from displaced women entrepreneurs in Jordan. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development. Dec 2018

    Saridakis, C. and Angelidou, S., 2018. A case-based generalizable theory of consumer collecting. European Journal of Marketing, 52(5/6), pp.946-972.

    Jarzabkowski, P., Lê, J. K., & Balogun, J. (2018). The social practice of co-evolving strategy and structure to realize mandated radical change. Academy of Management Journal, (ja).

    Balogun, J., Fahy, K., & Vaara, E. (2019). The interplay between HQ legitimation and subsidiary legitimacy judgments in HQ relocation: A social psychological approach. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(2), 223-249.

    Balogun, Julia , Jacobs, Claus , Jarzabkowski, Paula , Mantere, Saku and Vaara, Eero (2014). Placing Strategy Discourse in Context: Sociomateriality, Sensemaking, and Power. Journal of Management Studies, 51 (2), 175-201

    Balogun, Julia , Bartunek, Jean and Do, Boram . Senior Managers’ Sensemaking and Responses to Strategic Change. (2015) Organization Science, 26 (4). pp. 960-979. ISSN 1526-5455 (Online); 1047-7039.

    Balogun, Julia , Best, Katie and Le, Jane . Selling the Object of Strategy: How Frontline Workers Realize Strategy through their Daily Work. (2015) Organization Studies, 36 (10). pp. 1285-1313.

    Bagheri, M., Mitchelmore, S., Bamiatzi, V., & Nikolopoulos, K. (2019). Internationalization Orientation in SMEs: The Mediating Role of Technological Innovation. Journal of International Management, 25(1), 121-139.

    Belderbos, R., Tong, T. W., & Wu, S. (2020). Portfolio configuration and foreign entry decisions: A juxtaposition of real options and risk diversification theories. Strategic Management Journal, 41(7), 1191-1209.

    Brennecke J, Stoemmer N (2017). The network-performance relationship in knowledge-intensive contexts – A meta-analysis and cross-level comparison. Human Resource Management 57(1), 11-36.

    Brennecke, J. (2020). Dissonant Ties in Intraorganizational Networks: Why Individuals Seek Problem-Solving Assistance from Difficult Colleagues. Academy of Management Journal, 63(3), 743-778. 

    Brennecke, J., Sofka, W., Wang, P., & Rank, O. N. (2021). How the organizational design of R&D units affects individual search intensity-A network study. Research Policy, 50(5).

    Schierjott, I., Brennecke, J., & Rank, O. N. (2018). Entrepreneurial Attitudes as Drivers of Managers’ Boundary‐Spanning Knowledge Ties in the Context of High‐Tech Clusters. Journal of Small Business Management, 56, 108-131.

    Basov, N., & Brennecke, J. (2017). Duality beyond Dyads: Multiplex patterning of social ties and cultural meanings. In P. Groenewegen, J. Ferguson, C. Moser, J. Mohr, & S. Borgatti (Eds.), Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 53 “Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks” (pp. 87-112). Bingley: Emerald. doi:10.1108/S0733-558X20170000053005.

    Brennecke J, Rank ON (2017)  The firm’s knowledge network and the transfer of advice among corporate inventors – A multilevel network study.  Research Policy 46(4), 768-783.

    Glaser, L., Fourné, S. P. L., Brennecke, J., & Elfring, T. (2020). Leveraging Middle Managers’ Brokerage for Corporate Entrepreneurship: The Role of Multilevel Social Capital Configurations. Long Range Planning,

    Burke, G. T., & Wolf, C. (2021). The process affordances of strategy toolmaking when addressing wicked problems. Journal of Management Studies58(2), 359-388.

    Chow, D. Y. L., Louca, C., Petrou, A. P., & Procopiou, A. (2020). Marriage to the Same Kind: Organizational Political Ideology and Mergers and Acquisitions. Organization Studies, 0170840621989006.

    Anderson L, Ellwood P, Coleman C (2017). The Impactful Academic: Relational Management Education as an Intervention for Impact British Journal of Management 28(1):14-28

    Ellwood, P., Grimshaw, P., & Pandza, K. (2017). Accelerating the innovation process: a systematic review and realist synthesis of the research literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(4), 510-530.

    Hsieh, W.L., Ganotakis, P., Kafouros, M. and Wang, C., 2018. Foreign and domestic collaboration, product innovation novelty, and firm growth. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 35(4), pp.652-672.

    Armstrong H, Giordano B, Macleod C (2015)  The durability of European Regional Development Fund partnership and governance structures: a case study of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.  Environment and Planning C, 2015, vol. 33, issue 6, pages 1566-1584

    Benito Giordano & Alexandre Dubois (2018) Combining territory and competitiveness in EU Regional Policy? Analyzing ERDF investment profiles in regions with specific geographical features, Regional Studies,DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2018.1495323

    Spilanis, I., Kizos, T., & Giordano, B. (2016). The effectiveness of European Regional Development Fund projects in Greece: Views from planners, management staff and beneficiaries. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(2), 182-197.

    Giordano, B. (2016). Exploring the role of the ERDF in regions with specific geographical features: islands, mountainous and sparsely populated areas. Regional Studies, 1-11. doi:10.1080/00343404.2016.1197387

    Trehan, K., Higgins, D. and Jones, O., 2018. Engaged scholarship: Questioning relevance and impact in contemporary entrepreneurship/small and medium-sized enterprise research. International Small Business Journal, 36(4), pp.363-367.

    Jayawarna, D., Jones, O. and Macpherson, A. (2018) ‘Resourcing Social Enterprises: The Role of Socially Oriented Bootstrapping Practices’, British Journal of Management.

    Louca, C., Petrou, A. P., & Procopiou, A. (2020). When does the board blame the CEO for poor firm performance? Extreme resource reallocation and the board's industry and CEO experience. British Journal of Management, 31(3), 505-524.

    Lee, R., Tuselmann, H., Jayawarna, D. and Rouse, J., 2018. Effects of structural, relational and cognitive social capital on resource acquisition: a study of entrepreneurs residing in multiply deprived areas. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, pp.1-21.

    Jayawarna D, Jones O, Macpherson A. Entrepreneurial potential: The role of human and cultural capitals. International Small Business Journal 32(8):918-943

    Dilani Jayawarna, Julia Rouse & Allan Macpherson (2014) Life course pathways to business start-up, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 26:3-4, 282-312, DOI: 10.1080/08985626.2014.901420

    Jones O, Li H. Effectual entrepreneuring: sensemaking in a family-based start-up Entrepreneurship & Regional Development 29(5-6):467-499 27 May 2017

    Beugelsdijk, S., Kostova, T., Kunst, V. E., Spadafora, E., & van Essen, M. (2018). Cultural distance and firm internationalization: A meta-analytical review and theoretical implications. Journal of Management, 44(1), 89-130.

    Muller-Seitz, G. and Macpherson, A. (2014) Learning during crisis as a ‘War for Meaning’: The Case of the German E. coli Outbreak in 2011. Management Learning, Vol. 45(5), pp. 593-608.

    Macpherson, A. Herbane, B. and Jones, O. (2015) Developing dynamic capabilities through resource accretion: expanding the entrepreneurial solution space. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. DOI: 10.1080/08985626.2015.1038598

    McNulty, T., & Nordberg, D. (2016). Ownership, activism and engagement: Institutional investors as active owners. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 24(3), 346-358.

    McNulty T, Stewart A (2015)  Developing the Governance Space: A Study of the Role and Potential of the Company Secretary In and Around The Board of Directors, Organization Studies, 36 (4), pp. 513-535

    Papageorgiadis, N., & McDonald, F. (2019). Defining and Measuring the Institutional Context of National Intellectual Property Systems in a post-TRIPS world. Journal of International Management, 25(1), 3-18.

    Ahammad, M. F., Konwar, Z., Papageorgiadis, N., Wang, C., & Inbar, J. (2018). R&D capabilities, intellectual property strength and choice of equity ownership in cross-border acquisitions: evidence from BRICS acquirers in Europe. R & D Management, 48(2),pp. 177-194

    Papageorgiadis, N. & Sharma, A. (2016). Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: A Panel Analysis. Economics Letters 141: 70-72  DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2016.01.003

    Papageorgiadis, N., & Sofka, W. (2020). Patent enforcement across 51 countries–Patent enforcement index 1998–2017. Journal of World Business, 55(4), 101092.

    Konwar, Z., Papageorgiadis, N., Ahammad, M., Tian, Y., McDonald, F. E., & Wang, C. (n.d.). Dynamic marketing capabilities, foreign ownership modes, sub-national locations and the performance of foreign affiliates in developing economies. International Marketing Review. doi:10.1108/IMR-01-2016-0004

    Papageorgiadis, N and Cross, A and Alexiou, C  (2014) International Patent Systems Strength 1998-2011.  Journal of World Business, 49 (4).  pp. 586-597.     

    Smith, A. & Kaminishi, M. (2019) Western Debates About Chinese Entrepreneurship in the Treaty Port Period

    Abdelrehim, N., Ramnath, A., Smith, A., & Popp, A. (2018). Ambiguous decolonisation: a postcolonial reading of the IHRM strategy of the Burmah Oil Company. Business History, 1-29.

    Smith, A., & Umemura, M. (2018). Prospects for a transparency revolution in the field of business history. Business History, 1-22.

    Smith, A. (2016). The winds of change and the end of the Comprador System in the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Business History, 58(2), 179-206.

    Smith AD, Mussio LB (2016)  Canadian Entrepreneurs and the Preservation of the Capitalist Peace in the North Atlantic Triangle in the Civil War Era, 1861-1871.

    Smith, A. D. A. (2014). A successful British MNE in the backyard of American big business: Explaining the performance of the American and Canadian subsidiaries of Lever Brothers 1888–1914. Business History, 56(2), 135-160.

    Spence, C., Zhu, J., Endo, T., & Matsubara, S. (2017). Money, honour and duty: Global professional service firms in comparative perspective. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 62, 82-97.

    Grimpe, Christoph, Ulrich Kaiser, and Wolfgang Sofka. (2019) "Signaling valuable human capital: Advocacy group work experience and its effect on employee pay in innovative firms." Strategic Management Journal 40(4), 685-710.

    Sofka, Wolfgang, Edlira Shehu and Pedro de Faria (2018), Protecting Knowledge: How Legal Requirements to Reveal Information Affect the Importance of Secrecy, Research Policy 47(3), 558-572.

    Olsen AO, Sofka W, Grimpe C (2016). Coordinated exploration for grand challenges: The role of advocacy groups in search consortia. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6), 2232-2255. doi:10.5465/amj.2015.0730

    Sofka W, Preto MT, de Faria P. MNC subsidiary closures: What is the value of employees' human capital in new jobs? Journal of International Business Studies 45(6):723-750 Aug 2014 (Journal article)

    Grimpe, C., Sofka, W., Bhargava, M., & Chatterjee, R. (2017). R&D, Marketing Innovation, and New Product Performance: A Mixed Methods Study. Journal of Production Innovation Management, 34(3), 360-383. doi:10.1111/jpim.12366

    Olsen, A. Ø., Sofka, W., & Grimpe, C. (2016). Solving Environmental Problems: Knowledge and Coordination in Collaborative Search. Long Range Planning. doi:10.1016/j.lrp.2016.05.003

    Ketata, I., Sofka, W., & Grimpe, C. (2015). The role of internal capabilities and firms' environment for sustainable innovation: evidence for Germany. R & D Management, 45(1), 60-75. doi:10.1111/radm.12052

    Grimpe, C., & Sofka, W. (2016). Complementarities in the search for innovation—Managing markets and relationships. Research Policy, 45(10), 2036-2053.

    Sofka, W., Shehu, E., & de Faria, P. (2014). Multinational subsidiary knowledge protection—Do mandates and clusters matter?. Research Policy, 43(8), 1320-1333.

    Parkinson C , Howorth C, Southern A (2016)  The crafting of an (un)enterprising community: Context and the social practice of talk.  International Small Business Journal 54(4), 385-404.

    Thompson, M., Nowak, V., Southern, A., Davies, J., & Furmedge, P. (2020). Re-grounding the city with Polanyi: From urban entrepreneurialism to entrepreneurial municipalism. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 52(6), 1171-1194.

    Belderbos, R., Tong, T. W. and Wu, S. (2014), Multinationality and downside risk: The roles of option portfolio and organization. Strategic Management Journal, 35: 88–106. doi: 10.1002/smj.2087

    Belderbos, R., Tong, T. W., & Wu, S. (2019). Multinational investment and the value of growth options: Alignment of incremental strategy to environmental uncertainty. Strategic Management Journal, 40(1), 127-152.

    Wolf, Carola (2019) "Not lost in translation: Managerial career narratives and the construction of protean identities." Human Relations 72(3), 505-533.

    Mitchell, R., Boyle, B., Nicholas, S., Maitland, E., & Zhao, S. (2016). Boundary conditions of a curvilinear relationship between decision comprehensiveness and performance: The role of functional and national diversity. Journal of Business Research, 69(8), 2801-2811.

    Maitland, E., & Sammartino, A. (2015). Decision making and uncertainty: The role of heuristics and experience in assessing a politically hazardous environment. Strategic Management Journal, 36(10), 1554-1578.

    Maitland, Elizabeth, and André Sammartino (2015). "Managerial cognition and internationalization." Journal of International Business Studies 46(7), 733-760.

    Venugopal, A., Krishnan, T. N., Upadhyayula, R. S., & Kumar, M. (2020). Finding the microfoundations of organizational ambidexterity-Demystifying the role of top management behavioural integration. Journal of Business Research, 106, 1-11.