Faculty & Research

Insights

For 35 years since its founding, Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management has been adhering to universally-accepted academic standards and scientific methods in its research on China-related issues, refraining from an over-reliance on mathematics and models, which are only the means, not the end.

Constantly exploring the fundamental questions of what is research, how to research and for whom we research, our answer is increasingly clear: to resort to scientific methods and standards to reveal useful economic and management knowledge to serve the society.

PRINCIPLE 1: EXPLORE BASIC PATTERNS

Our research is never to adulate or sensationalize. Instead, we keep exploring deeper logic governing the world and pushing the boundary of knowing with respect and awe. Research should never serve pride or spotlight. Research should not aim to produce narratives that are exaggerated, sensationalized or not based on facts and evidence at all.

PRINCIPLE 2: ADHERE TO SCIENTIFIC METHODS

Within a scientific framework, we stick to research standards are are based on logical reasoning and positive analysis so as to grasp commercial rules and economic patterns that are universally applicable and time-tested. We will continue to focus on world-level research on China with globally-adopted academic standards and methods.

PRINCIPLE 3: SERVE THE SOCIETY

It is crucial to tap into China’s rich experiences since its reform and opening-up more than four decades ago from an academic point of view and understanding the country’s management and economic challenges. We value both cutting-edge theoretic study as well as research on major issues concerning reality, aiming to gather social and commercial knowledge that will help boost the development of China’s management science as well as the country’s commercial practices.

ACADEMIC PURSUIT

In Guanghua, academic research based on science and a solemn atttitude is the root for all thinking. In recent years, Guanghua saw its papers published in numerous high-profile overseas publications include Academy of Management Journal,American Economic Review, Journal of Finance, Journal of Political Economy, Management Science and Marketing Science. In 2019 alone, more than 100 Guanghua papers were released by leading publications,topping most Asian counterparts.

Within China, Guanghua professor Zhou Li-an ranked first in the Top 600 Most Cited Researchers in Chinese colleges in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences (2006-2018). Guanghua papers concerning a wide spectrum of topics, from venture capital,production efficiency to corporate governance and global value chains, have also been frequently released by the country’s two leading economics publications.

We also highly value legacy and innovation. In 2003, Guanghua launched its iPhD program to cultivate high-quality young talent and has so far seen more than 50 graduates become faculty members in renowned universities and colleges in the U.S.,Australia, the U.K., France, Japan and other countries.

Guanghua dares not slack on the academic road. Its achievements are built upon the talent and experiences of all Guanghua scholars and alumni, whose research focus on major issues in China’s social and economic development and offers strong intellectual support for the country’s progress.

STRENGTH LIES IN SCIENCE

Science has no boundary. In the 1980s and 1990s when China’s economics study was in its early stage,we learned and introduced Western economic theories and research methods to the country and began to use them to research China’s own problems. Math and models were crucial for positive analysis and various research attempts, but they were only means to an end.

However, there were issues in China’s development that cannot be solved by simply applying modern economics and some researchers were prone to giving up scientific basis and seeking sensationalized tricks and narratives that were not based on facts and evidence at all. That was not an proper academic approach.

This challenge to sense and science was worrisome. We have spent nearly 40 years fostering talent in utilizing globally-accepted scientific methods. Meanwhile, we lament the phenomenon to subvert academic norms whenever research encounters obstacles.

In this era of hype and surface performances, real academic research matters more than ever. As scholars, we stress the importance of upholding discreet scientific methods and procedures in all kinds of research.

True strength lies in sense and science. Only those research achievements grounded in meticulous reasoning and positive analysis can help enrich our understanding of commercial and economic rules and push forward the human civilization’s economic progress.

We welcome academic debate within a common knowledge framework. Bypassing active academic debate to override normal standards is an irresponsible act that does not help enrich our knowledge.

ROOTED IN CHINA

Guanghua’s research is rooted in China and focuses on real problems surrounding the country’s development in a bid to gather management wisdom and serve the society.

University is where academic truth comes into being and independent academic research and pursuit is cherished. Academic research targets topics of general applicability so that people can learn lessons and improve accordingly when in similar situation later. It is not for those seeking quick success or instant benefit. While a sound theory is practical in wide range of places, a terribly specific idea is only useful in a particular condition and can never be called a theory. Meanwhile, a statement that can easily fit anywhere and can never be proven wrong or improved is the product of tautology and no theory either. Thus, people should guard against those specious“thought bubbles.”

Good research and good theories must be rooted in scientific methods and practices and shed light on realities. Nothing is more dangerous than giving an accurate answer to the wrong question. People should realize by now the biggest problem plaguing China’s economics and management study is a dire shortage of research attempts that focus on the real issues.

Research on the real issues rooted in China is closely related the country’s economic and commercial practices and potentially offer policy guidance that serves social development. Such research examines market trends to help boost business development and sums up the country’s progress into narratives that are helpful for future development.

Since its reform and opening-up, China spent 40 years covering a distance that Western countries did in 300 years. How should the country achieve breakthroughs in its economic reform and find new growth momentum for high-quality development in the future? How to cultivate a batch of businesses that can create huge market values and also help make people’s lives better? How will digital economy transform China’s firms’business practices in all aspects? These are the real questions that urgently await us to answer with solemn, meticulous and scientific research.

For a scholar, China’s reform and opening-up over the past 40-plus years is a rich academic goldmine and offers abundant research topics and opportunities that await our exploration. Failing to do so will be a huge loss for any researcher with ambitions.

One person’s walking determines his existence. Many walking together can determine an era. The road is long and winding, and Guanghua will keep on with the aim to build itself into China’s world-level business school. Meanwhile, we welcome more scholars to join us in researching major issues in China’s economy and management and take on the country’s academic responsibility!

© 2019 Guanghua School of Management Peking University