By Chongyang Zhou

The Robert J. Manning School of Business, Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, invites you to attend a Ph.D. Dissertation Defense by William Chongyang Zhou.

Doctoral Candidate: William Chongyang Zhou
Defense Date: March 30, 2023
Time: 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.
Location: Hybrid, PTB-462, or using Zoom meeting link: https://uml.zoom.us/j/8527723120

Dissertation title: Three essays on entrepreneurship and innovation: An interdisciplinary exploration

Dissertation Committee Members:

  • Sunny Li Sun, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Massachusetts Lowell (Dissertation Committee Chair)
  • Yi Yang, Ph.D., Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Ying Huang, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Phillip Kim, Ph.D., Lewis Family Distinguished Professor in Social Innovation, Babson College


In the first essay, drawing upon the international entrepreneurship literature and the activity-system perspective of business model, I theorize that business model scalability is a key driver of foreign market entry. It is easier for new ventures with more scalable business models to be replicated and reconfigured across national borders, because the core activities of more scalable business models do not need changes; only the peripheral activities need to be adjusted. In comparison, both the core and peripheral activities of less scalable business models need to be modified. Using disruptive business model as a representative business model of high scalability, I further explore the boundary conditions and find that information infrastructure of the host country and venture capital support strengthen the relationship between business model scalability and foreign market entry likelihood, while venture age weakens it.

In the second essay, I explore the influence of newly public firm managers’ temporal focus on reporting pro forma accounting metrics, namely non-GAAP earnings. Under a unique interdisciplinary context, I argue that newly public firms led by managers with a stronger future focus are less likely to report non-GAAP earnings, while those led by managers with a stronger present or past focus are more likely to report non-GAAP earnings. I further argue that venture capital backing negatively moderates the relationship between temporal focus and non-GAAP earnings reporting. Moreover, non-GAAP earnings reporting is negatively related to subsequent sales growth. Empirical results of newly public firms that went public between 2009 and 2017 largely support my hypotheses.

In the third essay, I ask: how does voluntary sustainability reporting affect firm innovation? With a combined theoretical lens of organization transition and innovative search, I argue that filing sustainability report has positive influence on knowledge source diversification, external technological collaborations. I also find that firms are more likely to file new-to-the-firm and new-to-the market patents after sustainability reporting. A patent-level empirical analysis supports the hypotheses.