The conventional research regarding managerial decisions in industrial marketing and business-business relationships has largely been guided by macro-level analytical lenses that either assume certain universal human agent characteristics or even overlook the importance of human agents. Recently, the micro-level and behavioral analyses of business-business relationships have emerged as an alternative analytical approach to the conventional macro-level approach. This new stream of research points to the important roles of human agents in managerial decisions in the industrial marketing context. Dr. Li’s research focuses on the issues related to how the macro-level factors (such as relational norms between firms) and the micro-level factors (such as decision makers’ personal characteristics) interact with each other in shaping agents’ managerial decision tendency in the industrial marketing and business-business relationship context.
Currently, in one of his research projects, Dr. Li and his co-authors develop an agent-system contingency theory as a general multi-level theory of managerial decisions in the supply chain and industrial marketing context. Another project they are working on is about inter-firm coopetition. In one study, Li and co-authors examine the antecedents and the conditions of coopetition between firms. They find that interdependence has a positive effect on inter-firm coopetition, and this relationship is contingent on the joint occurrence of opportunism (a behavioral condition) and technology uncertainty (a contextual condition). In another coopetition study they examine both the bright side and dark side of inter-firm coopetition on firms’ process efficiency. Their findings confirm their argument of the double-edged sword role of coopetition on process efficiency, and we also find that conflicts play different mediation roles in this relation.
Dr. Li’s work has been published in prestigious marketing and business journals such as Journal of Retailing, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Operations Management, Industrial Marketing Management, and Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing and has received more than 250 citations. He has been invited frequently to review submissions to academic journals and conferences such as Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Academy of Management Annual Meetings, Midwest Academy of Management Annual Meetings, and Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meetings.