By Christina Xu

Name: Xiaojin (Jim) Liu
Hometown: Sichuan, China
Pre-Darden Education: B.A., Peking University, Beijing, 2009;  M.Phil., Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2011; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2011-2016
Research Interests: Innovation and Technology Management, Sustainable and Responsible Operations Management

After completing his pre-doctoral and doctoral education in Beijing, Hong Kong and in Minnesota, Jim Liu has been engaging in post-doc research work at the Darden School of Business for this past year.

“Back in the years of 2004 and 2005, when I started college, China was experiencing rapid growth in the logistics industry for online shopping market. Learning business operations procedures from U.S. counterparts, delivery services companies, such as SF Express, quickly developed and formed scale in the market.” Jim explained. “Encouraged by the optimistic future of this market, I decided to pursue an E-Commerce major in my Bachelor degree, and continued Masters studies in Logistics and Maritime Studies in Hong Kong. I became interested in the managerial process of the supply chain and innovation.”

Jim shared his perspective on the different academic settings and cities where he has worked: “Every location has its own business process highlights, and is the hub for a certain kind of business activity. Beijing is a representative of government-regulated business practices; Hong Kong has a more open atmosphere and focuses on improving the efficiency of international logistics; U.S. universities and colleges are more focused on providing solutions to the actual problems during the whole process from design to market. Darden appeals to me, especially, because of its innovative approach and ideal research environment with supportive and encouraging professors and colleagues.”

At Darden, Jim dedicates himself to research work in the field of supply chain operations and innovation. “I am currently working with Raul Chao, a professor of Business Administration at Darden, doing research on the topic of ‘Managing human capital and technology for sustainable and responsible operations in global supply chains.’ Companies like Walmart, Target, Nike and H&M offer low-cost and highly efficient supply chains for other companies to learn from and serve as great research objects.” According to Jim, this topic has raised much awareness in the recent years. Researchers are paying increased attention to how to manage business operations and take into account different stakeholders. “Business innovation and technology management in supply chains is going to be my research area of focus for at least the next five years.”

Jim also discussed some of his past and current research work: “At Darden, I have been focusing on empirical research in sustainable and responsible operations in global supply chains. I studied the implications of company’s efficient management of new technologies and appropriate accompanying skills, with special emphasis on improving long-term operational sustainability and social responsibility. One recent research paper focused on working condition improvement in Bangladesh ready-made garment factories that supply to North American and European retailers. Those retailers adopted an innovative approach and form consortiums on improving the working conditions of supplier factories in developing countries.” Jim shared. “Currently, I am working on the topic of the influence of social orientation over firm innovation, which is critical for sustained growth. I decided to study corporate social responsibility (CSR) from a new perspective, by exploring how firms establish different orientation, either proactive or reactive, to allocate resources to improve social responsibility. I will develop a theoretical framework and conduct empirical analysis with my team to address our research question.”

The global reputation of Darden has provided Jim with abundant resources including significant insight into his research topics. “Darden is known for its innovative approach and resources offered at a global level. In my research on improving factory working conditions in developing countries, I was able to get direct and personal insights on Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories managerial processes, because I had two fellow researchers at Darden who are from the country. It is amazing to have local people sharing their ideas and giving unique perspectives for your research.”

Jim also expressed his love for life in Charlottesville. “Charlottesville has great natural resources for sightseeing. It is definitely different from any other places I have lived in before. I can conduct my research in a quiet and peaceful city while having sufficient connections to the outside world.”