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Li Sun

Li Sun
Sunny Li SunAssociate Professor
  • College
    Manning School of Business
  • Department
    Marketing Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Phone
    (978) 934-5471
  • Office
    Pulichino Tong Business Center - 220A
  • Email
  • Profile Links

Research Interests

Entrepreneurship, corporate governance, venture capital networks and institutions.


  • Ph D: Organization, Strategy, and International Business, (2010), The University of Texas at Dallas - Dallas, Texas
  • MPH: Marketing, (1997), The Chinese University of Hong Kong - Hong Kong
  • BA: Philosophy and Science & Technology Information Management, (1993), The Renmin University of China - Beijing, China


Sunny Li Sun is an associate professor in the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Prior to joining UMass Lowell, Sun was an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Department of Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His research interests include entrepreneurial firm growth, new venture creation and financing, business models, internationalization, and corporate governance. Experienced in the areas of raising capital, startup management and bootstrapping, Sun was co-founder of NewTimeFly, a management consulting firm and co-founder of Miaxis Biometrics, a startup company focusing on the innovation of the fingerprint pattern recognition algorithms and raised fund from Intel Capital. Sun has led many consulting projects. He was an active angel investor and a popular columnist in CEO & CIO China, a leading magazine on entrepreneurship and innovation. Sun has authored 34 articles in peer-reviewed English journals, 17 English book chapters or case studies, and 20 books, with over 2,400 Google Scholar Citations. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas, a master’s in philosophy (concentration in marketing) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a B.A. from Renmin University of China.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Research and Creative Works Award (2018), Scholarship/Research - The Annual Faculty Symposium, 2018
  • Publons Peer Review Award (Top 1% of Global Reviewers in Economics & Business) (2018), Service, Professional - Publons
  • The Best Paper Award (2018), Scholarship/Research - Academy of Management Conference
  • Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence (2017), Scholarship/Research - Emerald
  • The Best Empirical Paper Award (2017), Scholarship/Research - United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)
  • The Best Paper Award in Entrepreneurial Finance (2017), Scholarship/Research - United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)
  • Sentinel of Science Award (2016), Service, Professional -
  • Emerald Citations of Excellence (2015), Scholarship/Research - Emerald
  • The Best Impact Award (2014), Scholarship/Research - Academy of Management Perspectives
  • The Robert H. Schaffer Award for the Best Paper in Applied International Management (2013), Scholarship/Research - Academy of Management
  • The Best Paper Award of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy (2012), Scholarship/Research - United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)
  • The Best Paper Award (2011), Scholarship/Research - Consortium for International Marketing Research

Selected Publications

  • Markoczy, L., Sun, L., Zhu, J. (2019) "Few women on boards: What's identity got to do with it?", Journal of Business Ethics
  • Hofman, P., Li, L., Sun, L., Sun, Y. (2019) "Institutional drivers of stakeholder engagement and legitimacy of Chinese MNEs", Edward Elgar
  • Yang, X., Sun, S.L., Zhao, X. (2019) "Search and execution: Examining the entrepreneurial cognitions behind the lean startup model", Small Business Economics 52:3 pp. 667–679
  • Sun, L., Zou, B. (2018) "Generative capability", IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management pp. Doi: 10.1109/TEM.2018.2841803
  • Sun, L., Zhu, R. (2018) "“All-Under-Heaven” strategy: A global perspective on China-US trade war", Harvard Business Review (in Chinese) Dec. pp. 130-136
  • Chen, V.Z., Sun, S.L., , (2018) "Barbarians at the gate of the middle kingdom: The international mobility of financial contracting and governance", Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice Forthcoming:
  • Sun, L., Zou, B. (2018) "Current innovation and its contribution to new product innovation: Understanding generative capability", IEEE Engineering Management Review 46:4 pp. 46-50
  • Dong, X., Gao, J., Sun, L., Ye, K. (2018) " Doing extreme by doing good", Asia Pacific Journal of Management Forthcoming: pp. DOI: 10.1007/s10490-018-9591-y
  • Sun, L., Xiao, J., Zhang, Y., Zhao, X. (2018) "Building business models through simple rules", Multinational Business Review pp. doi: 10.1108/MBR-08-2017-0053
  • Nippa,, M., Verbeke, A., Lyles, M.A., Contractor, F.J., Sun, L., Tong, T. (2018) "New directions for international joint venture research", Academy of Management Proceedings pp. doi: 10.5465/AMBPP.2018.16138symposium
  • Liang, H., Marquis, C., Renneboog, L., Sun, L. (2018) "Future-time framing: The effect of language on corporate future orientation", Organization Science Forthcoming: pp. DOI: 10.1287/orsc.2018.1217
  • Sun, S.L., Chen, V.Z., Sunny, S., Chen, J. (2018) "Venture capital as an innovation ecosystem engineer in an emerging market", International Business Review pp.
  • Sun, L., (2018) "Red Team Strategy", China Machine Press pp. 285
  • Wang, J., Markoczy, L., Sun, L., Peng, M.W. (2018) "She'-E-O compensation gap: A role congruity view", Journal of Business Ethics pp. doi:10.1007/s10551-018-3807-4
  • Shi, W., Sun, S.L., Yan, D., Zhu, Z. (2017) "Institutional fragility and outward foreign direct investment from China", Journal of International Business Studies 48:4 pp. 452–476
  • Sun, S.L., Peng, M.W., Tan, W. (2017) "Institutional relatedness behind product diversification and international diversification", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 34:2 pp. 339-366
  • Sarma, S., Sun, S.L. (2017) "The genesis of fabless business model: Institutional entrepreneurs in an adaptive ecosystem", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 34:3 pp. 587-617
  • Liang, H., Renneboog, L., Sun, S.L. (2016) "A state-stewardship view on executive compensation", Emerald pp. 39-91
  • Yang, X., Sun, S.L., Lee, R.P. (2016) "Micro-innovation strategy: The case of WeChat", Asian Case Research Journal 20:2 pp. 401-427
  • Liang, H., Ren, B., Sun, S.L. (2015) "An anatomy of state control in the globalization of state-owned enterprises", Journal of International Business Studies 46:2 pp. 223-240
  • Sun, S.L., Zhu, J., Ye, K. (2015) "Board openness during an economic crisis", Journal of Business Ethics 129:2 pp. 363-377
  • Sun, S.L., Im, J. (2015) "Cutting microfinance interest rates: An opportunity co-creation perspective", Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 39:1 pp. 101-128
  • Peng, M.W., Sun, S.L., Markoczy, L. (2015) "Human capital and CEO compensation during institutional transitions", Journal of Management Studies 52:1 pp. 117-147
  • Sun, S.L., Peng, M.W., Lee, R.P., Tan, W. (2015) "Institutional open access in the home country and outward internationalization", Journal of World Business 50:1 pp. 234-246
  • Yang, X., Sun, S.L., Yang, H. (2015) "Market-based reforms, synchronization, and product innovation", Industrial Marketing Management 50:October pp. 30-39
  • Im, J., Sun, S.L. (2015) "Profits and outreach to the poor: The institutional logics of microfinance institutions", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 32:1 pp. 95-117
  • Sun, S.L., Zhang, Y. (2015) "Qihoo 360: Building a “free” business model", The CASE Journal 11:2 pp. 163-183
  • Liang, H., Renneboog, L., Sun, S.L. (2015) "The political determinants of executive compensation: Evidence from an emerging economy", Emerging Markets Review 25:December pp. 69-91
  • Ding, Z., Sun, S.L., Au, K. (2014) "Angel investors’ selection criteria: A comparative institutional perspective", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 31:3 pp. 705-731
  • Shi, Weilei (Stone), ., Sun, S.L., Pinkham, B., Peng, M.W. (2014) "Domestic alliance network to attract foreign partners: Evidence from international joint ventures in China", Journal of International Business Studies 45:3 pp. 338-362
  • Sun, S.L., Liang, H. (2014) "Morphing: The linkage of inward private equity and outward venture", Thunderbird International Business Review 56:5 pp. 421-438
  • Sun, S.L., Yang, X., Li, W. (2014) "Variance-enhancing corporate entrepreneurship under deregulation: An option portfolio approach", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 31:3 pp. 733-761
  • Sun, S.L., Shi, Weilei (Stone), ., Prescott, J.E., Chen, V.Z. (2013) "All things work together for innovation: Market reform synchronization and firm network prominence", Academy of Management Proceedings No. 14664:
  • Sun, S.L., Zhang, Y. (2013) "Corporate governance and organizational survival under punctuational change: The case of China’s burgeoning banking industry, 1897-1927", Nankai Business Review International 4:4 pp. 268 - 289
  • Sun, S.L., Lee, R.P. (2013) "Enhancing innovation through international joint venture portfolios: From the emerging firm perspective", Journal of International Marketing 21:3 pp. 1-21
  • Markoczy, L., Sun, S.L., Peng, M.W., Shi, W., Ren, B. (2013) "Social network contingency, symbolic management, and boundary stretching", Strategic Management Journal 34:11 pp. 1367-1387
  • Sun, S.L., Zhang, Y., Chen, Z. (2013) "The challenges of Chinese outward investment in developed countries: The case of CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron project in Australia", Thunderbird International Business Review 55:3 pp. 313-322
  • Sun, S.L., Chen, V.Z., Peng, M.W., Liang, H. (2013) "The process of international institutional entrepreneurship: The case of equity ratchet practice in China", Global Perspectives on Entrepreneurship: Public and Corporate Governance, CGIR Conference
  • Sun, S.L., Yang, X. (2013) "Transformative capacity and absorptive capacity: The rise of Chinese wind turbine manufacturers", Routledge pp. 109-135
  • Sun, S.L., Yang, X. (2012) "Absorptive Capacities and Innovation in an Emerging Wind Turbine Industry", 2012 IEEE International Technology Management Conference pp. 23-31
  • Shi, W., Sun, S.L., Peng, M.W. (2012) "Sub-national institutional contingencies, network positions, and IJV partner selection", Journal of Management Studies 49:7 pp. 1221-1245
  • Sun, L., Peng, M.W., Ren, B., Yan, D. (2012) "A comparative ownership advantage framework for cross-border M&As: The rise of Chinese and Indian MNEs", Journal of World Business 47:1 pp. 4-16
  • Yang, H., Sun, S.L., Lin, Zhiang (John), ., Peng, M.W. (2011) "Behind M&As in China and the United States: Networks, learning, and institutions", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 28:2 pp. 239-255
  • Peng, M.W., Sun, S.L., Blevins, D.P. (2011) "The social responsibility of international business scholars", Multinational Business Review 19:2 pp. 106 - 119
  • Sun, S.L., Zhao, X., Yang, H. (2010) "Executive compensation in Asia: A critical review and outlook", Asia Pacific Journal of Management 27:4 pp. 776-802
  • Sun, S.L., Chen, H., Pleggenkuhle-Miles, E. (2010) "Moving upward in global value chains: The innovations of mobile phone developers in China", Chinese Management Studies 4:4 pp. 305-321
  • Lin, Z., Peng, M.W., Yang, H., Sun, S.L. (2009) "How do networks and learning drive M&As? An institutional comparison of China and the United States", Strategic Management Journal 30:10 pp. 1113–1132
  • Sun, S.L. (2009) "Internationalization strategy of MNEs from emerging economies: The case of Huawei", Multinational Business Review 17:2 pp. 129-155
  • Peng, M.W., Sun, S.L., Pinkham, B., Chen, H. (2009) "The institution-based view as a third leg for a strategy tripod", Academy of Management Perspectives 23:3 pp. 63-81
  • Au, K., Sun, S.L. (1998) "Hope Group: The future of private enterprises in China", Asian Case Research Journal 2:2 pp. 133-148

Research Currently in Progress

  • Data Analytic Approach to Determine the Impact of Caregiver Advise Record Enable (CARE) Act on Reducing Readmission & Mortality
    Summerfield, N. (Supporting), Oztekin, A. (Principal), Lee, H. (Supporting), Lee, S. (Supporting), Sun, L. (Supporting), Gore, R. (Supporting)