Professor Fang Zhao

Associate Dean - Research & Enterprise

Staffordshire Business School

Professor Fang Zhao is a digital transformation strategist and a passionate researcher and business advisor in the areas of digital transformation and digital disruption. Her current research focuses on digital strategy in SMEs, Smart Cities strategy, digital government, and ethnic minority-led businesses. She has published over 110 research works internationally and in some of the top-tier leading journals. She has provided consultancy and advisory services to governments, industry and business. She has led and/or completed and undertaken a number of research projects funded by governments, industry/business and universities, including Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant, Australian Federal Government grant, the British Academy, and UKRI-Global Challenges Research Fund.

Professor Zhao is currently serving as Associate Dean - Research and Enterprise at Staffordshire Business School of Staffordshire University, the United Kingdom. Prior to that, she served on the roles of the Associate Dean at School of Business and Law of Edith Cowan University; the Professor and Head of the School of Management and Public Administration of the University of the South Pacific; and the Professor and Acting Head of Management Department at the School of Business and Management (AACSB-Accredited) of American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Professor Fang Zhao is currently supervising 5 PhD candidates after supervising 6 doctoral candidates to successful completion. She welcomes applications for a research degree in the areas related to, but not limited to, digital transformation strategy, smart cities/communities, the sharing and digital economy, digital entrepreneurship and innovation and immigrant entrepreneurs.

Being a global citizen and a strong advocate for international mobility and education, Professor Zhao has extensive MBA and other management education and teaching experience in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the South Pacific and the United Kingdom.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Academy of Management, 2005-present

  • Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) 2016-present

Academic qualifications

PhD in Management (University of Western Sydney, Australia)

Post-Doctorate in Business Management (RMIT University, Australia)

Disruptive Strategy (Certificate of Completion) - Harvard Business School


  • Digital Strategy and Innovation;

  • Smart Cities Strategy;

  • Digital Government Diffusion;

  • Cross-Cultural Management;

  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Research interests

  • Digital Strategy and Innovation;

  • Smart Cities Strategy;

  • Digital Government Diffusion;

  • Cross-Cultural Management and Education;

  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Research projects

  1. Global Challenges Research Fund UKRI/Research England. Role: Principal Investigator. Project title ‘Policy Framework for Achieving Sustainable Poverty Alleviation in Less Developed Rural Regions in China’.
  2. British Academy Special Research Grant Covid-19. Role: Co-Investigator. Project title: ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on BAME Owned Businesses in the UK’.

Enterprise and commercial interests

Currently serving on the Board of Staffordshire Connected & Intelligent Mobility Innovation Accelerator project which secured £986,000 from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. The project employs artificial intelligence, the internet of things, big data, cloud computing, manufacturing, engineering, electronics, and creative design to offer tailored support to 45 SMEs in regional manufacturing, logistics, transport, and digital business sectors.

Served on the Executive Board of Joondalup Business Association, one of the largest business associations in Western Australia.

Had been a key team member in a multiple partnerships Smart City project: 'Yellagonga Wetlands Smart Monitoring Project’, funded jointly by the Australian Government Smart Cities and Suburbs Program and two city councils in Perth, Australia.


  1. Zhao, F., Barratt-Pugh, L., Standen, P., Redmond, J., and SUSENO, Y. (2021) (accepted for publication). An exploratory study of entrepreneurial social networks in the digital age. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Q1 journal).
  2. Naidu, S., Zhao, F., Pandaram, A., Chand, A., Patel, A. (2021). Borrowing for health, sustainability, credit card use and ownership: a study of 74 countries. Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues, 8(4), 622-640. (Q1 journal).
  3. Zhao, F. Mapuru, D., Waxin, M. Prentice, C. Scavarda, A. (2021). Addressing issues and challenges in managing migratory tuna resources in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. International Journal of the Commons, 15(1), 119–131. DOI: (Q1 journal).
  4. Zhao, F. Prentice, C. Wallis, J. Patel, A. Waxin, M. (2020) An integrative study of the implications of the rise of coworking spaces in smart cities. Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues 8(2): 467-486. (Q1 journal).
  5. Waxin, M.-F.; Kumra, S.; Zhao, F. (2020). Workforce Localization in the Arab Gulf Countries: How Do Organizations Socialize the Members of A Powerful Minority? Sustainability, 12, 5847. (Q1 journal)
  6. Barratt-Pugha, L., Zhao, F. Zhang, Z. and Wang, S. (2019) Exploring Current Chinese Higher Education Pedagogic Tensions Through an Activity Theory Lens. Higher Education – The International Journal of Higher Education Research. Vol. 77, No 5. 831-852 (A-ranked Journal) (ABDC rankings).
  7. Zhao, F, Naidu, S, Singh, G. Sewak, A, Chand, A. and Karan, M. (2018). An Empirical Study of E-government Diffusion in Fiji - A Holistic and Integrative Approach, Public Management Review. Vol. 20, No. 10, pp. 1490–1512 (A-ranked Journal)
  8. Shen, K. N., Zhao, F. and Mohamed, K. (2017) “'Dual identity process for virtual community participation and impact of gender composition”, Internet Research: Electronic Networking, Applications and Policy, Vol. 27 No. 2, 182-198. (A-ranked Journal).
  9. Wallis, J. and Zhao, F. (2017) 'e-Government Development and Government Effectiveness: A Reciprocal Relationship' International Journal of Public Administration. (Q1 in SJR ranking)
  10. Kemp, L. and Zhao, F. (2016). “The influence of cultural orientations on Emirati women’s careers”, Personnel Review, Vol. 45, No. 5. pp. 998-1009 (A-ranked Journal).
  11. Zhao, F., Wallis, J. and Singh, M. (2015). “E-government development and the digital economy: A two-way Relationship”, Internet Research: Electronic Networking, Applications and Policy, Vol. 25, No. 5. pp. 734-766 (A-ranked journal).
  12. Zhao, F., Shen, K. N. and Collier A. (2014), “Effects of National Culture on E-Government Diffusion: A Global Study of 55 Countries”, Information & Management, Vol. 51, No. 8, pp. 1005-1016 (A*star journal).
  13. Zhao, F. Collier, A. and Deng, H. (2014). “A multidimensional and integrative approach to study global digital divide and e-government development”, Information Technology and People, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 38-62. (A-ranked Journal). The paper was awarded “2015 Highly Commended Paper Award” by Emerald Group Publishing
  14. Zhao, F. (2014). “A holistic and integrated approach to theorizing strategic alliances of small and medium-sized enterprises”, Business Process Management Journal Vol. 20, No. 6. pp. 887-905. (Q1 in SJR ranking)
  15. Taras, V, Zhao, al. (2013). “A Global Classroom? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Global Virtual Collaboration as a Teaching Tool in Management Education”, Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp414-435. (A* star journal).
  16. Zhao, F. and Kemp, L. (2013). “Exploring individual, social and organizational effects on Web 2.0-based workplace learning”, Research in Learning Technology, The Journal for the Association of Learning Technology (formerly called ALTJ), Vol. 21, No. 3. (A-ranked Journal).
  17. Zhao, F. (2013). ‘An empirical study of cultural dimensions and e-government development - Implications of the findings and strategies’, Behaviour and Information Technology. Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 294-306. (A-ranked journal)
  18. Zhao, F. and Khan, S. (2013). “An Empirical Study of E-government Service Adoption: Culture and Behavioral Intention” International Journal of Public Administration. Vol. 36, No 10. pp. 710-722. (Q1 in SJR ranking).
  19. Zhao, F. Scavarda, A., Waxin, F. M. (2012). 'Key issues and challenges in e-government development: An integrative case study of the number one eCity in the Arab World, Information Technology and People. Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 295-422. (A-ranked journal).
  20. Zhao, F. (2011). “The impact of national culture on e-government development: A global study. Internet Research: Electronic Networking, Applications and Policy, Vol. 21, No. 3. pp.362-380. (A-ranked journal)
  21. Zhao, F. (2005), “Exploring the Synergy between Entrepreneurship and Innovation” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 25-41. (Q1 in SJR ranking).
  22. Zhao, F. (2004), “Commercialization of Research: Case Study of Australian Universities”, Higher Education Research and Development, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 223-236. (A-ranked journal)
  23. Zhao, F. (2004), “Management of Information Technology and Business Process Re-engineering: A Case Study”, Industrial Management & Data System, Vol. 104, No. 8, pp. 674-680. (Q1 in SJR rankings)
  24. Zhao, F. (2004). 'Siemens’ business excellence model and sustainable development.' Measuring Business Excellence Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 55-64. (Q1 in SJR rankings)
  25. Zhao, F. (2003), “Transforming Quality in Research Supervision: A Knowledge Management Approach”, Quality in Higher Education, Vol. 9, No. 2. pp.187-197. (A-ranked journal)
  26. Zhao, F. (2001), “Impact of Diversification of Financing Sources on Higher Education Quality”. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 26/5, pp. 60-70. (A-ranked journal)
Top 250 Young University

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2020

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Top 15 for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020