Li Sun

Sunny Li Sun

Associate Professor

Manning School of Business
Marketing Entrepreneurship and Innovation
(978) 934-5471
Pulichino Tong Business Center - 220C

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

  • The Best Paper Award 2023 (2024), Scholarship/Research - Journal of World Business
  • The Best Reviewer Award (2024) - International Business Review
  • The Alan Rugman Fellowship (2023) - Dunning Centre for International Business, University of Reading
  • The John B. Cullen Best Paper Award (2021), Scholarship/Research - Midwest Academy of Management Annual Meeting
  • The 2020 – 2021 Best Senior Editor Award (2021), Service, Professional - Management and Organization Review
  • The Best Reviewer Award (2020), Service, Professional - Quarterly Journal of Management;
  • Global Peer Review Award (2019), Service, Community - Publons
  • Emerald Literati Award (2019), Scholarship/Research - Emerald
  • The Best Decade Award (2009-2019) (2019), Scholarship/Research - Academic of Management
  • 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

  • Sun, L., Jia, P. (2024). Scaling social ventures under institutional fragility. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, doi: 10.1080/19420676.2024.2304111.
  • Sun, L., Choi, Y., Guo, F., Zou, J., Zou, B., Lin, C. (2023). Winning intellectual property rights lawsuits in China. Journal of World Business, 58(3) 101429, DOI:10.1016/j.jwb.2023.101429.
  • Sun, L., Ding, Z., Joseph, G. (2023). Expanding inclusive markets through corruption control: A multilevel modeling analysis for a grand challenge. Journal of International Management, 29(6) 101068. doi: 10.1016/j.intman.2023.101068.
  • Chen, C.Q., Zhou, W.C., Sun, L. (2023). How to build subscription business models. John Wiley & Sons
  • Zhou, W., Huang, Y., Sun, L. (2023). Innovations and Ambidextrous Transition: Mitigating Earnings Management and Firm Risk in China. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 1-13.
  • Zou, B., Guo, J., Sun, L., Guo, F. (2023). Achieving harmony: Social identification in academic entrepreneurs’ role transition. Technovation, 128 102859.
  • Jia, P., Sun, L. (2023). Mission drift or mission fulfillment? Examining microfinance's financial and social performance with growth curve modeling and variance decomposition. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 30(3) 467-487.
  • Chen, Y., Sun, L. (2023). Leapfrogging and partial recapitulation as latecomer strategies (9:3 pp. 100099). Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity
  • Ko, Y., Sun, L. (2023). Boundary spanning roles of financial advisors in M&As. European Journal of International Management, DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2021.10038596.
  • Sun, L., Ko, Y.J. (2023). The zone of conformity: A comparison of private and state-controlled enterprises in M&As. Management International Review, 63 247–284.
  • Wang, J.C., Zhao, Y., Sun, L., Zhu, J. (2023). Female-friendly boards in family firms. Journal of Business Research, 157(March) 113552.
  • Qin, L., Sun, L. (2023). Knowledge collaboration in global value chains: A comparison of supplier selection between a forerunner and a latecomer. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, doi: 10.1007/s10490-022-09823-y.
  • Santos, R.S., Sun, L. (2022). InvisaWear: Building traction with crowdfunding (5:4 pp. 703–713). Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy
  • Qin, L., Sun, L. (2022). Interfirm Transformative Capacity Within Global Value Chains. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 69(6) 3253 - 3264, 10.1109/TEM.2020.3037870.
  • Sun, L., Zhang, Y., Zhu, Z. (2022). Turning disruption into growth opportunity: The red team strategy (43:6 pp. 365-372, Journal of Business Strategy
  • Guo, J., Cui, L., Sun, L., Zou, B. (2022). How to innovate continuously? Conceptualizing generative capability. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 7(2) 100177.
  • Zhou, W.C., Yan, D., Sun, L. (2022). Climbing the ladder: Inward sourcing as an upgrading capability in global value chains. Research Policy, 51(3) 104439,
  • Cheng, S., Sun, L., Zeng, X. (2021). Cultivating the paradigm of disruptive innovation: Knowledge production in a trans-disciplinary field under a co-citation analysis. Creativity and Innovation Management, 30(4) 872-896.
  • Lebedev, S., Sun, L., Peng, M.W., Markoczy, L. (2021). Board political ties and firm internationalization. Journal of International Management, 27(3) 10860.
  • Santos, R.S., Sun, L. (2021). Hedge fund activism and corporate innovation (pp. 381-390). Oxford University Press
  • Zhou, W.C., Sun, L. (2021). Governors’ pro-market ideology as institutional enablement of firm internationalization. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 28(4) 894 - 917.
  • Zhu, R., Sun, S.L., Huang, Y. (2021). Fair trade coffee and inclusive globalization: A metamorphosis of institutional entrepreneurship. Multinational Business Review, 29(2) 189-209.
  • Yang, X., Sun, L., Jiang, F. (2021). How do emerging multinational enterprises release subsidiary initiatives located in advanced economies? . Journal of International Management, 27(1) 100836.
  • Markoczy, L., Sun, L., Zhu, J. (2021). The glass pyramid: Informal gender status hierarchy on boards. Journal of Business Ethics, 168(4) 827-845. DOI:10.1007/s10551-019-04247-z.
  • Sun, L., Zou, B., (2021). The art of teaching entrepreneurship with film. Journal of Higher Education, 7 35-39 (in Chinese).
  • Xiao, J., Sun, L., Weng, D.H. (2021). The unfriendly board: Antecedents and consequences of board dissent. European Management Journal, 39 (1) 135-146.
  • Yang, X., Sun, L., Jiang, F. (2021). How do emerging multinational enterprises release subsidiary initiatives located in advanced economies? . Journal of International Management, 27 (1) 100836.
  • Dong, X., Gao, J., Sun, L., Ye, K. (2021). Doing extreme by doing good. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 38(1) 291–315.
  • Sun, L., Liang, H. (2021). Globalization and affordability of microfinance. Journal of Business Venturing, 36(1) 106065.
  • Markoczy, L., Sun, L., Zhu, J. (2020). Few women on boards: What's identity got to do with it? Journal of Business Ethics, 165(2) 311-327 DOI: 10.1007/s10551-019-04104-z.
  • Zhou, W.C., Sun, L. (2020). Red Teaming Strategy: Huawei's Organizational Learning and Resilience (pp. 299--317). Springer International Publishing
  • Sun, L., Shi, W., Ahlstrom, D., Tian, L. (2020). Understanding institutions and entrepreneurship: The microfoundations lens and emerging economies. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 37(4) 957–979.
  • Li, L., Sun, L. (2020). Untangling legitimization complexity: Huawei’s engagement with governments and media (pp. 271-297). Palgrave Macmillan
  • Santos, R., Sun, L., Luo, X. (2020). InvisaWear: Evolving the entrepreneurial mindset (16:4 pp. 393-414. DOI:10.1108/TCJ-12-2019-0126). The Case Journal
  • Sun, S.L., Shi, W.(. (2020). Digital transition in the COVID-19 crisis (June pp. 52-57). Harvard Business Review (in Chinese)
  • Santos, R., Sun, L., Luo, X. (2020). InvisaWear: Bridges under construction (16:4 pp. 415-432. DOI:10.1108/TCJ-12-2019-0127). The Case Journal
  • Zhu, R., Sun, L. (2020). Fostering Generative Partnerships in an Inclusive Business Model. Sustainability, 12(8) 3230.
  • Lee, R.P., Spanjol, J., Sun, L. (2019). Social Innovation in an Interconnected World: Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 36(6) 662-670.
  • Sun, S.L., Chen, V.Z., Sunny, S., Chen, J. (2019). Venture capital as an innovation ecosystem engineer in an emerging market. International Business Review, 29(5) 101485
  • Sun, L., Zou, B. (2019). Generative capability. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 66(4) 636-649.
  • Wang, J., Markoczy, L., Sun, L., Peng, M.W. (2019). She'-E-O compensation gap: A role congruity view. Journal of Business Ethics, 159(3) 745-760.
  • Sun, L., Zhang, Y., Cao, Y., Dong, J., Cantwell, J. (2019). Enriching innovation ecosystems: The role of government in a university science park. Global Transitions, 1(1) 104-119.
  • Hofman, P., Li, L., Sun, L., Sun, Y. (2019). Institutional drivers of stakeholder engagement and legitimacy of Chinese MNEs. Edward Elgar
  • Chen, V.Z., Sun, S.L., , (2019). Barbarians at the gate of the middle kingdom: The international mobility of financial contracting and governance. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 43(4) 802-837.
  • Zhang, W., Sun, L., Jiang, Y., Zhang, W. (2019). Openness to experience and team creativity: Effects of knowledge sharing and transformational leadership. Creativity Research Journal, 31(1) 62-73.
  • 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) 667–679.
  • Sun, L., Zhu, R. (2018). “All-Under-Heaven” strategy: A global perspective on China-US trade war (Dec. pp. 130-136). Harvard Business Review (in Chinese)
  • Sun, L., Zou, B. (2018). Current innovation and its contribution to new product innovation: Understanding generative capability (46:4 pp. 46-50). IEEE Engineering Management Review
  • Sun, L., Xiao, J., Zhang, Y., Zhao, X. (2018). Building business models through simple rules. Multinational Business Review, 26(4) 361-378, Received Emerald Literati Award (2019).
  • Nippa,, M., Verbeke, A., Lyles, M.A., Contractor, F.J., Sun, L., Tong, T. (2018). New directions for international joint venture research (pp. doi: 10.5465/AMBPP.2018.16138symposium). Academy of Management Proceedings
  • Liang, H., Marquis, C., Renneboog, L., Sun, L. (2018). Future-time framing: The effect of language on corporate future orientation. Organization Science, 29(6) 1093-1111.
  • Sun, L., (2018). Red Team Strategy (pp. 285). China Machine Press
  • 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) 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) 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) 587-617.
  • Liang, H., Renneboog, L., Sun, S.L. (2016). A state-stewardship view on executive compensation (pp. 39-91). Emerald
  • Yang, X., Sun, S.L., Lee, R.P. (2016). Micro-innovation strategy: The case of WeChat. Asian Case Research Journal, 20(2) 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) 223-240 (Impact factor listed in the top 1% of field of Economics & Business in SSCI).
  • Sun, S.L., Zhu, J., Ye, K. (2015). Board openness during an economic crisis. Journal of Business Ethics, 129(2) 363-377.
  • Sun, S.L., Im, J. (2015). Cutting microfinance interest rates: An opportunity co-creation perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(1) 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) 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) 234-246 (Impact factor listed in the top 1% of field of Economics & Business in SSCI).
  • Yang, X., Sun, S.L., Yang, H. (2015). Market-based reforms, synchronization, and product innovation. Industrial Marketing Management, 50(October) 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) 95-117.
  • Sun, S.L., Zhang, Y. (2015). Qihoo 360: Building a “free” business model. The CASE Journal, 11(2) 163-183 (a Highly Commended paper in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence).
  • Liang, H., Renneboog, L., Sun, S.L. (2015). The political determinants of executive compensation: Evidence from an emerging economy. Emerging Markets Review, 25(December) 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) 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) 338-362.
  • Sun, S.L., Liang, H. (2014). Morphing: The linkage of inward private equity and outward venture. Thunderbird International Business Review, 56(5) 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) 733-761.
  • 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) 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) 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) 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) 313-322.
  • 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) 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) 4-16 (Impact factor listed in the top 1% of field of Economics & Business in SSCI; Emerald Citations of Excellence for 2015).
  • 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) 239-255.
  • Peng, M.W., Sun, S.L., Blevins, D.P. (2011). The social responsibility of international business scholars. Multinational Business Review, 19(2) 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) 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) 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) 1113–1132.
  • Sun, S.L. (2009). Internationalization strategy of MNEs from emerging economies: The case of Huawei. Multinational Business Review, 17(2) 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) 63-81 (AMP 2009-2019 The Best Decade Award).