Dr Wubiao (Joseph) Zhou

Dr Wubiao Zhou

Department of Management
Associate Professor

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University House
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
B15 2TT

Wubiao Zhou (Joseph) is an Associate Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Management at Birmingham Business School in the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He obtained a Ph.D. in Economic and Organizational Sociology from Cornell University, and M.A. and B.A., both in Sociology, from Peking University, China. Adopting quantitative and analytic methods, He has been working in the research areas of Economic and Organizational Sociology, Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and Social Networks and Social Capital, with a focus on emerging and transition economies, particularly, China.


  • Ph.D. Cornell University (Sociology)
  • M.A.  Peking University, China (Sociology)
  • B. A.  Peking University, China (Sociology and Law)


Dr. Wubiao Zhou (Joseph) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management, Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Previously, he worked in Newcastle University Business School at Newcastle University, Department of Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Division of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University. He obtained a Ph.D. in Economic and Organizational Sociology from Cornell University, and M.A. and B.A., both in Sociology, from Peking University, China. 

He has published widely in entrepreneurship and development studies journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory and PracticeJournal of Business VenturingSmall Business Economics, and World Development. His research has been funded by external agencies such as Research Grants Council of Hong Kong and Natural Science Foundation of China, and  has received various best paper awards such as the Emerald Citations of Excellence Award from the Emerald Group Publishing, Global Development Award (finalist) from the Global Development Network (GDN), and Best Doctoral Student Award from the Academy of Management. He is currently serving on the Editorial Review Board of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice.     


Wubiao Zhou has extensive experience of teaching and supervising students (at all levels). The courses he has previously taught include economic sociology, complex organisation, entrepreneurship, social inequality, economic reform and social impacts in China, political foundations of China's economic reforms, and quantitative methods courses (at both undergraduate and graduate levels). Currently, he is teaching both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses related to entrepreneurship. In addition, he has supervised numerous taught programme master students’ dissertations and undergraduate honour theses.

The following is a list of courses he has taught/co-taught since 2017: 

At the University of Birmingham:

  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship 
  • International Entrepreneurship  
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MBA)

At Newcastle University:

  • Quantitative Methods in International Business Management 
  • International Entrepreneurship  
  • Research Methods (quantitative sessions)
  • Emerging Economies: Challenges and Opportunities (MBA)
  • MBA Dissertation (quantitative sessions)

Postgraduate supervision

Wubiao Zhou has supervised a number of doctoral and research master's (MPhil) students. Potential doctoral students with research interests in either entrepreneurship or SME development or business strategies are welcome to apply. Those with good training in quantitative methods are particularly welcome. He can be reached at w.zhou.1@bham.ac.uk


Using recent large-scale data, Wubiao Zhou is currently working on several major projects in the following lines of research:  

  1. Institutions and entrepreneurship. In this area, while he is continuing research on the role of formal regulatory institutions in entrepreneurship, he has recently been researching the role of informal normative institutions (ideology, cultural norms such as those based on kinship networks) and formal political institutions (democracy and democratic governance).
  2. Firm political activities and strategies. In this research line, building on his previous research on various types of political activities/connections, he has been working on a project to comparing network-based political activities/capital with property-rights-based ones.  
  3. Corporate networks and Chinese state capitalism. With Dr Jianhua Ge at Renmin University of China, he is using panel data of Chinese listed companies to understand the economic and political consequences of structural cohesion among Chinese listed corporations. 


Recent publications


Zhou, W & Xu, T 2023, 'Democratic Governance, Kinship Networks, and Entrepreneurial Development: Evidence from Rural China', Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/10422587231190732

Zhou, W 2018, 'Property rights, deregulation and entrepreneurial development in a transition economy', Management and Organization Review, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 73-103. https://doi.org/10.1017/mor.2016.59

Zhou, W 2017, 'Institutional environment, public-private hybrid forms, and entrepreneurial reinvestment in a transition economy', Journal of Business Venturing, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 197-214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2016.11.002

Zhou, W 2014, 'Regional institutional development, political connections, and entrepreneurial performance in China’s transition economy', Small Business Economics, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 161-181. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-013-9527-3

Zhou, W 2013, 'Political Connections and Entrepreneurial Investment: Evidence from China’s Transition Economy', Journal of Business Venturing. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883902612000699>

Zhou, W 2012, 'Determinants and Effects of Research Partnerships in China’s Emerging Market', Contemporary Economic Policy. <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2010.00242.x>

Zhou, W 2011, 'Regional Deregulation and Entrepreneurial Growth in China’s Transition Economy', Entrepreneurship & Regional Development. <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08985626.2011.577816>

Zhou, W 2009, 'Bank Financing in China’s Private Sector: The Payoffs of Political Capital', World Development. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X08003367>

View all publications in research portal