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About Eric Zhao

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Eric Zhao is Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Strategy at the Saïd Business School and St Hugh's College, University of Oxford. Before joining Oxford, he was a visiting faculty at Stanford University and the Samuel and Pauline Glaubinger Chair of Entrepreneurship at Indiana University. Eric’s research is cross-disciplinary in nature and sits at the intersection of strategic management, organization theory, and entrepreneurship. His 2017 SMJ article “Optimal Distinctiveness: Broadening the Interface between Institutional Theory and Strategic Management” and his solo-authored book “Optimal Distinctiveness: A New Agenda for the Study of Competitive Positioning of Organizations and Markets” are widely regarded as foundational contributions to the burgeoning literature on optimal distinctiveness. His second stream of research focuses on how societal-level institutions, such as patriarchy, racial and ethnic segregation, religious diversity, and social class, shape entrepreneurial actions and performance, with broader implications for organizations’ role in addressing grand social challenges.

Eric’s research has been published in leading management and entrepreneurship journals and is widely cited. Eric won the Academy of Management Emerging Scholar Award in Entrepreneurship in 2019 and the Strategic Management Society Emerging Scholar Award in 2022, making him the first scholar who has been recognized by top early career awards in both strategy and entrepreneurship.

My Goals

Advance knowledge at the intersection of strategy, organization theory, and entrepreneurship to enhance firms' competitive advantage and social impact

Disseminate knowledge by educating and training future leaders in both academia and industry

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