W. L. (Wenjie) Liu

Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM PhD Candidate
Field: Strategy & Entrepreneurship
Affiliated since 2018

Wenjie Liu is a Ph.D. Candidate in Strategic Management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. His research focuses on organizational responses to global challenges for sustainability. He uses quantitative methods to study how different stakeholders (multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, governments) shape the sustainability of firms and their actions toward these stakeholders. His research builds on different organizational and sociological theories and seeks to expand current understanding of achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in authoritarian contexts. His research has been accepted for publication in the Journal of International Business Studies and the Journal of Management.

Wenjie regularly presents at international conferences, including the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business, the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, and the Strategic Management Society. His papers have been included in AOM best paper proceedings and have received finalist positions for the 2021 OMT Best International Paper Award at the Academy of Management and the 2022 Best PhD Student Paper Award at the Group for Research on Organizations and the Natural Environment. Wenjie is also a recipient of 2022 Kwok Leung Memorial Dissertation Fund grant from the International Association for Chinese Management research.

Wenjie has held a visiting position as Research Fellow at Columbia Business School. He obtained his Master degree from the South China University of Technology.

PhD Track An Indigenous Perspective on Institutions for Sustainable Business in China

This dissertation builds endemically Chinese theoretical explanations on how institutions shape business’ ability to simultaneously contribute to economic expansion, environmental protection, and social equity. The first study, based on a new multivariate application of meta-analysis ensuring the comparability of effects and causal identification of the estimates, explicates the applicability of classic Western management theories in China and provides insights into how to fit these theories with Chinese institutional contexts more tightly. Inspired by meta-analytic results for resource dependence theory, the second study theorizes and tests how Chinese NGOs, which have limited room to maneuver and which are under close surveillance by the Chinese state, can still put sufficient pressure on local supply chains to bring them to more sustainable practices. This study shows that creating collaborative ties with foreign MNEs, which present an opportunity structure to these NGOs, is a crucial element predicting their effectiveness. Yet local governments’ own level of commitment to the natural environment substitutes for the main effect. The third study, which is inspired by meta-analytic results for neo-institutional theory, highlights a soft corporate control mechanism at the disposal of the Chinese government: control by means of exposure of the corporate elite to the prevailing state political ideology. This study finds that state political ideology can be used to impose clan-like control on corporations, but its effectiveness depends on the central state’s ability to intervene local governments. Together these findings contribute to an integrated framework for understanding institutional arrangements that drive sustainable business in China.

Indigenous theorizing; institutions; corporate sustainability; corporate social responsibility, MNE-NGO collaborations; global supply chains; power and dependence; political ideology; imprinting; China
Time frame
2018 -


  • Academic (1)
    • Liu, W., Heugens, P., Wijen, F., & van Essen, M. (2022). Chinese management studies: a matched-samples meta-analysis and focused review of indigenous theories. Journal of Management, 48(6), 1778-1828. https://doi.org/10.1177/01492063211073067

  • Academic (1)
    • Liu, W., Heugens, P., Wijen, F., & Essen, M. (2021). Assessing and extending the unique contributions of Chinese management studies. Academy of Management. Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2021(1), [Best Papers]. https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2021.91

  • Academic (1)
    • Liu, W., Heugens, P., & Wijen, F. (2020). State political ideology as a corporate control mechanism: Evidence from China. In Academy of Management Conference proceedings


Visiting address

Office: T07-11
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam