Professor John Child MA, PhD, ScD, FBA

Professor John Child

The Department of Strategy and International Business
Emeritus Professor of Commerce

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University House
B15 2TT

John Child is Emeritus Professor of Commerce in the Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham. He has served as Head of the Business School’s International Management and Organization Subject Group and was the Founding Director of its MSc in International Business programme. 

Professor Child contributed to the development of organizational studies as a member of the internationally-renowned Aston University Programme of Organization Studies (the “Aston Group”) and later as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Organization Studies.  While at Aston he co-founded and directed the ESRC’s Work Organization Research Centre. Secondment to teach on and later direct the EU’s management programme in China in the 1980s led to research on China’s economic reform and the development of Sino-foreign joint ventures. His seminal book, Management in China during the Age of Reform was published by Cambridge University Press in 1994. His work on joint ventures continued during the 1990s contributing to the emerging field of cooperative strategy, as witnessed by his co-authored book on the subject published by Oxford University Press and now in its third edition.

At Birmingham, Professor Child initiated a programme of research into the internationalization of SMEs. His current research focuses on two projects. The first is investigating the cooperative strategies evident in the formation of China’s hydrogen-powered electric vehicle ecosystems and the entrepreneurial co-creation opportunities such ecosystems offer. The second project is examining the potential of third sector organizations to serve as a community voice and how this is affected by different routes to their scaling-up.


  • Fellow of the British Academy [FBA] 2006
  • ScD in Economics, University of Cambridge 1984
  • PhD in Economics, University of Cambridge 1967
  • MA in Economics, University of Cambridge 1965
  • BA (Hons) in Economics, University of Cambridge 1962


John Child is Emeritus Professor of Commerce at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business and the British Academy of Management. In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the prestigious British Academy [FBA]. He has Lifetime Achievement Awards from the British Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business and the International Association for Chinese Management Research [IACMR]. He was also made an Honorary Member of EGOS [the European Group for Organization Studies]. His degrees are all from the University of Cambridge, and he holds honorary doctorates awarded by Aalborg University, Aston University, Corvinus University, and the Helsinki School of Economics (now Aalto University).

Before entering academia, Professor Child worked for Rolls-Royce. He then became a Research Fellow in the Aston University Programme of Organization Studies before moving to the London Business School, and then returning to Aston in 1973 as Professor of Organizational Behaviour. He was the founder and first Chairman of Aston University’s Faculty of Management and Policy Sciences Doctoral Programme which was supported by the Social Science Research Council. From 1986 to 1989 he was Dean of the Aston Business School.

He was seconded to be Dean and Director of the European Community’s management program in China in 1989-1990, building it into the China-Europe Management Institute, the forerunner of the China-Europe International Business School [CEIBS] in Shanghai. In 1991 he was appointed Diageo Professor of Management in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge.  He was also the Distinguished Visiting Professor in Management at Hong Kong University 1998-2000.

He returned to the West Midlands in 2000 taking up the Chair of Commerce at Birmingham University. He has also been a Visiting Professor at universities in Brazil, China, and the UAE, most recently at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark.

John Child has published 25 books and over 150 articles primarily in the fields of international business and business organization. His co-authored book Corporate Co-evolution (Wiley 2008) won the 2009 Terry Book Award of the Academy of Management. In 2013 he co-authored The Dynamics of Corporate Co-evolution, published by Edward Elgar which is a unique study of how China’s largest container terminal developed in relation to its institutional environment. In 2015 the second edition of his widely used text on Organization was published by Wiley. In 2019 he published a new co-authored edition of Cooperative Strategy (Oxford University Press) which is the leading textbook in its field. Also appearing in 2019 was a pioneering study of Hierarchy (Routledge) which won the 2020 European Academy of Management Best Book Award.

Professor Child has been editor-in-chief of Organization Studies and Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review He sits on the Editorial Boards of several international journals. He has served as External Examiner for thirteen universities in the UK and abroad. During his career, he has supervised 48 successful PhD candidates researching on organization, international business and China-related subjects.


Professor Child’s current research focuses on two projects. The first project is investigating the cooperative strategies employed in the formation of China’s ecosystems that are devoted to the development of hydrogen electric vehicles. Three regional hydrogen fuell cell electic vehicle [HFCEV] ecosystems are being studied. These ecosystems comprise regional value chains supported by key institutions such as central and local governments, and university research centres.They offer entrepreneurial co-creation opportunities through the formation of various collaborative linkages. The research is examining this formation process and the role of key actors in it.

The second project is investigating the potential of third sector organizations to serve as a community voice and how this is affected by different routes to the scaling-up of their service provision. It focuses on the situation in Scotland where in recent years policy-makers have emphasized the need to strengthen the third sector’s voice on behalf of local communities and interests.  The rationale for the project lies in the dilemma that scaling may be a two-edged sword for this democratic role.  On one side, scale can add weight to the voice of TSOs in policy-making. On the other, growth in a TSO’s size may marginalize their stakeholders (beneficiaries and members) by encouraging centralization in the hands of administrators and officials. 

Professor Child’s previous research specialization was on the internationalization of SMEs. He led a team covering six countries which studied various issues, including the speed of SME internationalization, resource provision and international performance, the business models adopted by SMEs for internationalization, and the influence of contextual factors on the process.

Other activities

The following are among Professor Child’s current and past professional responsibilities: 

Member, Editorial Board, European Management Review (2022-)
Member, Advisory Board, European Journal of International Management (2017-) 
Member, International Advisory Board, Renmin University of  China (2012-16)
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Trust Research (2011-)
Member, Editorial Review Board, Journal of International Business Studies (2007-09)
Member, Joint Economic and Trade Committee for Brazil and the UK (2006-10)
Chief Examiner, Institute of Export (2006-08)
Chair, Supervisory Board, Erasmus Research Institute in Management, Rotterdam School of Management (2003-09)
Member, Advisory Board, the Hang Lung Center for Organizational Research, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2000-09)
Advisor, Euro-Asia Centre, INSEAD (2000-09)
Member, Hong Kong UGC Research Assessment Panel (2000-09)
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Organization Science (1990-2000)
Member of Council, British Academy of Management (1993-96)
Founder Member, Executive Committee, British Academy of Management (1987)
Member, Editorial Committee, New Technology, Work and Employment (1986-2015)
Member, Business & Management Studies Sub‑Committee, University Grants Committee (1984-89)
Vice‑Chairman, Management & Industrial Relations Committee, Social Science Research Council. Chairman of SSRC Open Door Scheme (1980-82)



Rodrigues, S.B., Child, J. (2022), The role of corporations in addressing non-market institutional voids during the COVID-19 pandemic: the case of an emerging economy. Journal of International Business Policy, 

Child, J., Narooz, R., Elbanna, S., Hsieh,L., Karmowska,J., Marinova, S., Puthusserry, P., Tsai, T., Zhang, L. (2022), External resource provision and the international performance of SMEs – A contextual analysis. Journal of International Management. 28 (3), DOI: 10.1016/j.intman.2021.100924 

Child, J. Karmowska, J., Shenkar, O. (2022), The role of context in SME internationalization – A review.  Journal of World Business, 57 (1), 101267.


Child, John, Rudy Durand and Dovev Lavie 2021.  Competitive and cooperative strategy. In Irene Duhaime, Mike Hitt & Marjorie Lyles (eds.), Strategic Management: State of the Field and its Future. New York: Oxford University Press.

Child, John 2021. Organizational participation in post-Covid society – Its contributions and enabling conditions.  International Review of Applied Economics, 35 (2): 117-146. doi:/10.1080/02692171.2020.1774976

Qamar, A., & Child, J. 2021. Grand Challenges within IB: Conducting Qualitative Research in the Covid Environment. AIB Insights, 21(3).


Elbanna, Said, Hsieh, Linda and John Child 2020. Contextualizing internationalization decision-making research in SMEs: Towards an integration of existing studies.  European Management Review.17 (2): 573-591. 

He, Qile, Maureen Meadows, Duncan Angwin, Emanuel Gomes and John Child 2020. Strategic alliance research in the era of digital transformation: Perspectives on future research.  British Journal of Management, 31 (3): 589-617.

Puthusserry, Pushyarag, John Child and Zaheer Khan 2020. Social capital development through the stages of internationalization: Relations between British and Indian SMEs. Global Strategy Journal, 10 (2): 282-308.


Child, John 2019.  SMEs in emerging economies: Strategies, innovation and internationalization.  In Robert Grosse & Klaus Meyer (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Management in Emerging Markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 495-526.

Child, John 2019. Hierarchy. Abingdon: Routledge.

Child, John, David Faulkner, Stephen Tallman and Linda Hsieh 2019. Cooperative Strategy (3rd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hsieh, Linda, John Child, Rose Narooz, Said Elbanna, Joanna Karmowska, Svetla Marinova, Pushyarag Puthusserry, Terence Tsai and Yunlu Zhang. 2019.  A multi-dimensional perspective of SME internationalization speed: The influence of entrepreneurial orientation. International Business Review, 28 (2): 268-283.

Puthusserry, Pushyarag, John Child and Zaheer Khan 2019. Social capital development through the stages of internationalization: Relations between British and Indian SMEs. Global Strategy Journal, 11 (1): 1-27.


Child, John 2018. Should your research deal with power?  AIB Insights, 18 (2), 3-6.

Child, John 2018. Downward accountability.  In Ciaran Driver and Grahame Thompson (eds.), Corporate Governance in Contention. Oxford University Press: 193-225. 


Child, John, Linda Hsieh, Said Elbanna, Joanna Karmowska, Svetla Marinova, Pushyarag Puthusserry, Rose Narooz, Terence  Tsai and Yunlu Zhang 2017. SME International Business Models: The Role of Context and Experience. Journal of World Business, 52 (5): 664-679.

Elg, Ulf, Pervez Ghauri, John Child and Simon Collinson 2017.  MNEs’ microfoundations and routines for building a legitimate and sustainable position on emerging markets.  Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38 (9): 1320-1337.

Frynas, J.George, John Child and Shlomo Y. Tarba 2017. Nonmarket social and political strategies – An introduction to new integrative approaches and interdisciplinary borrowings.  British Journal of Management, 28 (4): 559-574.

Karmowska, Joanna, John Child and Phil James 2017. A successful failure: The meaning of temporariness in occupational membership-based organizations. British Journal of Management, 28 (2): 213-230.

Narooz, Rose & John Child  2017. Networking responses to contrasting levels of institutional void: A comparison of internationalizing SMEs in Egypt and the UK.   International Business Review, 26 (4): 683-696.

Vendrell-Herrero, Ferran, Emanuel Gomes, Kamel Mellahi and John Child 2017. Building international business bridges in geographically isolated areas: The role of Foreign Market Focus and Outward Looking Competences in Latin American SMEs. Journal of World Business, 52 (4): 489–502.


Child, John 2016. Building the innovation capacity of SMEs in China. In Arie Y. Lewin, Martin Kenney and Johann Peter Murmann (eds.), China’s Innovation Challenge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 189-218.


Child, John 2015. Organization: Contemporary Principles and Practice, 2nd edition. Chichester: Wiley. 

Luo, Yadong and John Child 2015 . A composition-based view of firm growth. Management and Organization Review, 11 (3): 379-411.