Portrait of Dr Maggie (Jing) Zeng

Dr Maggie (Jing) Zeng

Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship


Dr Jing (Maggie) Zeng holds a PhD from Newcastle University. Prior to joining KBS, she held a lecturer position at the University of Gloucestershire. She has also worked as a project advisor for SMEs.

Research interests

Emerging strategies in the digital economy, business ecosystem, dynamic capabilities and innovation.


Maggie has taught International Entrepreneurship and International Business Issues, Digital Business Strategy at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Her teaching is mainly case-based and research-oriented. 


Maggie would be interested in supervising students in the following areas: 

  • The impact of digital technology (e.g., Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things) on organisation strategies
  • Organisational change in the new industrial revolution
  • The emergence of the ecosystem and ecosystem management
  • Emerging strategies in the platform economy  


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.



  • De Silva, M., Khan, Z., Vorley, T. and Zeng, J. (2019). Transcending the pyramid: opportunity co-creation for social innovation. Industrial Marketing Management [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2019.12.001.
    There is a lack of understanding of how social enterprises with their partners co-create opportunities to concurrently generate both social and economic value across the pyramid. Drawing on evidence from multiple case-studies, this paper addresses this gap to further our understanding of opportunity co-creation by social enterprises. We find that social enterprises co-create opportunities to simultaneously generate social and economic value with both the top of the pyramid (TOP) and bottom of the pyramid (BOP) partners; we thus call them Transcending Pyramid Social Enterprises (TPSEs). Opportunity co-creation comprises commercialising the social opportunity characteristics of prevalence, relevance, and accessibility to create both the demand and supply sides of a market. Supply side opportunity co-creation involves fulfilling institutional voids, developing relational capital with the BOP, and meeting the needs of the BOP. Demand side opportunity co-creation involves generating market access to the TOP, raising awareness of value generated by TPSEs, and fulfilling the needs of TOP customers. Opportunity co-creation with BOP and TOP partners not only enables social enterprises to overcome their resource barriers, but also enables them to generate dual value across the pyramid, thus benefiting multiple stakeholders. Co-created opportunities are thus capable of both addressing the economic and social and/or environmental issues of the BOP and meeting the altruistic and consumption needs of the TOP. The implications for social enterprises, their partners, and policy makers are discussed.
  • Shamim, S., Zeng, J., Choksy, U. and Shariq, M. (2019). Connecting Big Data Management Capabilities with Employee Ambidexterity in Chinese Multinational Enterprises Through the Mediation of Big Data Value Creation at the Employee Level. International Business Review [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2019.101604.
    Drawing from the knowledge-based dynamic capabilities (KBDCs) view, this study examines the association of big data management capabilities with employee exploratory and exploitative activities at the individual level. Furthermore, it also investigates the mediating role of big data value creation in the association of big data management capabilities with exploratory and exploitative activities. The partial least square method was employed to analyse the hypotheses using data collected from 308 employees of 20 Chinese multinational enterprises. The existing literature gives scant attention to the role of big data management capabilities at the individual level. The main contribution of this study is that it conceptualises big data management as the ability utilise external knowledge (generated from global users) under the resource-constrained environment of an emerging economy. Furthermore, this study builds upon the existing literature on KBDC to explain big data management capabilities as antecedents to ambidexterity at the individual employee level.
  • Zeng, J., Khan, Z. and De Silva, M. (2019). The Emergence of Multi-sided Platform MNEs: Internalization Theory and Networks. International Business Review [Online] 28. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2019.101598.
    The rise of the digital economy provides firms across the globe with unique business opportunities. Companies such as Facebook, Alibaba, and Uber are competing in a new multi-sided platform world; the primary focus of these firms, from their inception, is to provide digital infrastructure, information and technology—intangible assets that enable direct interaction or value creation across platforms by linking different user group and complementors, often at the international level. Building on data drawn from multinational multisided Platform corporations (MMPCs) operating in China, we combine insights from internalization theory and network effects in understanding the value creation of such firms. We explore the boundaries of these new “breed” of MNEs in exploiting firm-specific advantages (FSAs) and in creating new knowledge between headquarters and subsidiaries. The findings suggest that internalization theory needs to shift its focus from the ‘boundaries of the firm’ to the ‘boundaries of the local network’. By integrating their internal and external networks of knowledge in adapting their business models in host markets, this new breed of MNEs is more likely than the traditional one to gain a sustainable competitive advantage in the new information age.
  • Zeng, J., Glaister, K. and Darwish, T. (2019). Processes Underlying MNE Subsidiary Absorptive Capacity: Evidence from Emerging Markets. Management International Review [Online] 59:949-979. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11575-019-00392-9.
    We explore the determinants of absorptive capacity by examining how managers of MNE subsidiaries operating in emerging markets recognize, assimilate and apply external knowledge. From analysis of the subsidiaries of 12 MNEs with data from a total of 62 informants from China, India, Brazil and Kenya, six constructs emerged: prior knowledge significance, unlearning, explorative scanning, transformative learning, exploitative application and organization context. Through the iteration of data and theory, we develop a model, which presents a process framework that suggests the dynamic relationships among the emergent concepts underlying absorptive capacity. By identifying and explicating key actions and practices that have previously been largely treated as implicit in the absorptive capacity literature, the study enriches understanding of the micro-processes of absorptive capacity.
  • Zeng, J. and Mackay, D. (2018). The influence of managerial attention on the deployment of dynamic capability: a case study of Internet Platform Firms in China. Industrial and Corporate Change [Online] 28:1173-1192. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icc/dty057.
    We examine the interaction of processes of managerial attention and dynamic capabilities deployment, drawing on qualitative data from the development of two Internet Platform Companies – Alibaba and Tencent – over their first fifteen years of existence. Informed by senior management interviews, we create a process model of the relationship between activities of managerial attention and dynamic capability deployment within context. We show how the focus of managerial attention on aspects of the organizational context leads to the deployment of specific dynamic capabilities. Further, we propose that a continuing focus of managerial attention to any aspect of the organization’s context gives rise to core dynamic capabilities – a set of continually deployed processes for changing the resource base in a way that corresponds with the strategic logic of the organization. We find that core dynamic capabilities are complemented by contingent dynamic capabilities – intermittently deployed strategic change processes which enable and enhance the use of core dynamic capabilities.
  • Shamim, S., Zeng, J., Syed, S. and Khan, Z. (2018). Role of big data management in enhancing big data decision-making capability and quality among Chinese firms: A dynamic capabilities view. Information & Management [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.im.2018.12.003.
    This study examines the antecedents and influence of big data decision-making capabilities on decision-making quality among Chinese firms. We propose that such capabilities are influenced by big data management challenges such as leadership, talent management, technology, and organisational culture. By using primary data from 108 Chinese firms and utilising partial least squares, we tested the antecedents of big data decision-making capability and its impact on decision-making quality. Findings suggest that big data management challenges are the key antecedents of big data decision-making capability. Furthermore, the latter is vital for big data decision-making quality.
  • Zeng, J. and Khan, Z. (2018). Value creation through Big Data in Emerging Economies: the role of Resource Orchestration and Entrepreneurial Orientation. Management Decision [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-05-2018-0572.
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how managers orchestrate, bundle, and leverage resources from big data for value creation in
    emerging economies.
    Design/methodology/approach – The authors grounded the theoretical framework in two perspectives: the resource management and
    entrepreneurial orientation. The study utilizes an inductive, multiple-case research design to understand the process of creating value from big data.
    Findings – The findings suggest that entrepreneurial orientation is vital through which companies based in emerging economies can create value
    through big data by bundling and orchestrating resources thus improving performance.
    Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to have integrated resource orchestration theory and entrepreneurial orientation in the context
    of big data and explicate the utility of such theoretical integration in understanding the value creation strategies through big data in the context of
    emerging economies.
  • Darwish, T., Zeng, J., Haak-Saheem, W. and Rezaei Zadeh, M. (2018). Organisational Learning of Absorptive Capacity and Innovation: Does Leadership Matter?. European Management Review [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/emre.12320.
    Following the process-based definition of absorptive capacity, this study seeks to explore the mediating role of transformational and transactional leadership styles in the relationship between the three learning processes of absorptive capacity and innovation. Based on a survey in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it was found that transformational leadership mediates the relationship between exploratory and transformational learning processes and innovation. It was also found that transactional leadership did not mediate the relationship between the internal exploitative learning process and innovation. Whilst several researchers have noted a need to develop a better theoretical understanding of the mechanisms explaining the interplay between absorptive capacity and innovation, we provide theoretical explanations of the underlying mechanism and further offer explanations as to why some firms are better able to convert external knowledge into strategic innovations when compared with others. The implications of these findings for theory and practice are delineated.
  • Zeng, J. and Glaister, K. (2018). Value Creation from Big Data: Looking Inside the Black Box. Strategic Organization [Online] 16:105-140. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1476127017697510.
    The advent of big data is fundamentally changing the business landscape. We open the ‘black box’ of the firm to explore how firms transform big data in order to create value and why firms differ in their abilities to create value from big data. Grounded in detailed evidence from China, the world’s largest digital market, where many firms actively engage in value creation activities from big data, we identify several novel features. We find that it is not the data itself, or individual data scientists, that generate value creation opportunities. Rather, value creation occurs through the process of data management, where managers are able to democratize, contextualize, experiment and execute data insights in a timely manner. We add richness to current theory by developing a conceptual framework of value creation from big data. We also identify avenues for future research and implications for practicing managers.
  • Badewi, A., Shehab, E., Zeng, J. and Mostafa, M. (2018). ERP Benefits Capability Framework: Orchestration Theory Perspective. Business Process Management Journal [Online] 24:266-294. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-11-2015-0162.
    ERP benefits can be classified as automation, planning and innovation benefits. This research aims to answer two research questions: (1) what are the ERP resources and organizational complementary resources (OCRs) required to achieve each group of benefits? and (2) on the basis of its resources, when should an organization invest more in ERP resources and/or OCRs so that the potential value of its ERP is realised? Evidence from studying 12 organizations in different countries and validating the results with 8 consultants has been drawn upon to develop the ERP Benefits Realisation Capability Framework, showing (1) that each group of benefits requires ERP resources (classified into features, attached technologies and IT department competences) and OCRs (classified into practices, attitudes, culture, skills and organizational characteristics) and (2) that leaping ahead to gain innovation benefits before being mature enough in realising a firm’s planning and automation capabilities could be a waste of time and effort. This research can be used as a benchmark for designing the various blueprints required to achieve different groups of benefits from ERP investments.
  • Zeng, J., Simpson, C. and Dang, B. (2017). A process model of dynamic capability development: Evidence from the Chinese manufacturing sector. Management and Organization Review [Online] 13:643-673. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/mor.2016.42.
    Based on longitudinal case studies of manufacturing strategy and implementation at two Chinese manufacturing firms, this paper investigates how these firms develop, manage and deploy dynamic capabilities to renew their resource bases in order to respond to the operational challenges associated with radical technological development. Our analysis suggests that dynamic capability development is not simply about renewing one specific type of capability, but rather, it is a meta-capability to learn how to repeatedly renew the firm’s overall capability set as a fully integrated package. We further highlight the importance of looking beyond the property of the firm to understand the network level of capability development, including the capabilities of the firm’s partners. This is particularly salient in the context of smart manufacturing where a high level of connectivity among a broader network of partners is required to reap the benefits generated by new technological advances. Our findings provide an important contribution to our knowledge of dynamic capability development in emerging economies in the era of digitalized manufacturing.
  • Zeng, J. and Glaister, K. (2015). Competitive Dynamics between Multinational Enterprises and Local Internet Platform Companies in the Virtual Market in China. British Journal of Management [Online] 27:479-496. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12136.
    We adopt the dynamic capability perspective and the institutional view as the guiding theoretical lenses to explain the relative performance of foreign internet platform companies (IPCs) operating in China. Based on data obtained from 51 interviews a multiple-case-study approach is adopted, with representative matched cases between foreign IPCs, including Google, eBay, Amazon and Groupon, and local IPCs. The findings highlight the unique characteristics of the IPCs and the Chinese context that challenge assumptions prevailing in the literature of the applicability of firm-specific advantages in determining a sustainable competitive advantage. We highlight the dynamic capabilities of the firm, such as flexibility and experimentation, in contributing to sustainable competitive advantage. Further, rather than focusing on firm-specific resources, we find that the active agency of the firm can approach institutions as resources through external links with diversified institutional players, which is crucial for multinational enterprise IPCs to develop sustainable competitive advantage. Drawing on the findings we present a number of propositions and implications for theory and practice.

Book section

  • Zeng, J. (2014). Sustainable Operations Management. In: The Business Student’s Guide to Sustainable Management: Principles and Practice. Sheffield UK: Greenleaf Publishing Limited, pp. 198-214.
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