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FB Magazine DEC 2020

DBA/DMgt Graduates’ Research

The PolyU Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) qualification is the region’s first professional doctorate in business and management. Launched in 1996, the programme was extended to the Chinese mainland in 2004 and named DMgt (Doctor of Management). To date, more than 500 graduates have completed their studies and transformed themselves into ‘scholar-leaders’ who integrate academic study with management practice and apply research findings to tackle real-world issues.

DBA/DMgt graduates apply what they have acquired in the programme to examine a wide range of topics and conduct independent research to contribute new insights to the practice of business administration and management.


Michael Tsang

Dr Michael Tsang
2020 DBA graduate
Chief Investment Officer (PE & VC), Architech Capital Management
Supervisor: Professor Haitian Lu

Prior research highlights the role of seed-funders such as business angels in bringing start-ups to success but often neglects the heterogeneous attributes of angel investors. This article asks whether super angel investors (SAIs), who are serial investors with past entrepreneurship experience, add more value to their investees than normal angel investors do. Data from field research conducted between 2018 and 2019 of nine business angel investors (including two Impact Investors) and eight start-up founders found that SAIs provide materially more value and benefits than angel investors in all four areas of our framework. Specifically, SAIs help overcome funding gaps, fill knowledge/experience gaps through providing their own human, social and organizational capital during post-investment involvement, and provide more resources to gather further funding. Empirical evidence from the largest database on all angel and VC investments in China in the period between 1995 and 2016 shows that start-up ventures backed by SAIs have a 50% to 100% higher probability of receiving subsequent VC financing than those backed by angel investors and the effects are stronger when SAIs have capital market (IPO and M&A) experience in their own entrepreneurial firms. Conditional on receiving VC financing, ventures backed by SAIs with capital market experience are more popular among VCs that lack successful exit experience. Taken together, my evidence is consistent with the certifying role of SAIs in an emerging economy and supports that compared to angel investors, SAIs do have the Midas touch by bringing more value/benefits to their investee companies and helping them to achieve greater success. These findings support the need and provide directions to professionalize the business angel investment market and have policy implications.


Qi Peng

Dr Qi Peng
2020 DMgt graduate
Director, Shenzhen Lianchuang Technology Group Co., Ltd.
Supervisor: Dr Flora Gu

At present, domestic home appliance enterprises face different competitive pressures from traditional offline and emerging online channels, often adopt differentiation strategies, and use product differentiation to deal with the objective differences and requirements of different terminals to maximize product sales and market size. Adopting a differentiation strategy is an important way for companies to gain a sustainable competitive advantage and form a unique market position (Porter, 1980). With regard to differentiation, the central paradox of strategic management and organizational theory is how companies are consistent and different from their competitors (Deephouse, 1999) and how they build an optimal difference advantage and a strategically balanced perspective (Haans, 2016). The relationship between differentiation and enterprise performance is also a long-term concern of scholars and remains a controversial issue.

This paper presents empirical research conducted through data analysis and questionnaire verification. Based on the monthly sales data of online and offline terminals, this study analyses the influence and relationship of product line-up differentiation, product price differentiation and new product quantity differentiation on the sales performance of home appliance enterprises. The annual sales data of online and offline different terminals of home appliance enterprises are matched with the questionnaire responses of terminal business principals to analyse the effects of differentiation on channel equity perception. The influence of such effects on channel cooperation and the ultimate effects on channel product sales are examined.

The results reveal the inherent motivation and principle of adopting multiple differentiation strategies for online and offline terminals to maintain their market share and maximize sales performance in the face of new retail integration requirements, and overcomes the limitation of traditional differentiation theory that enterprises build competitive advantage through a differentiation strategy to cope with the external market competition while ignoring internal differentiation strategies, proposing the innovative concept of “internal differentiation” to deal with external competition and avoid channel conflict. The findings suggest that when home appliance enterprises face competition and conflict from different online and offline channels, the implementation of three different differentiation strategies (for product line-up, product price and the number of new products) has an inverted U-shaped effect on product sales volume. Product price and new product quantity differentiation also have an inverted U-shaped effect on channel equity perception. The results of this study not only enrich differentiation theory research, but also expand “optimal difference” research based on the strategic balance perspective from the perspective of enterprise differentiation strategy implementation. The study is also a valuable supplement to the research on the relationship between enterprise differentiation and enterprise performance.

This study provides an important theoretical reference for channel managers of brand enterprises to deal with online and offline terminal conflicts and promote channel cooperation, and can help them to grasp the principles and standards necessary to formulate and implement product differentiation strategies for different terminals. The study also provides a unique perspective for suppliers (i.e., major brand enterprises) implementing a new retail strategy for the terminal retailers and provides an empirical reference for the formulation and implementation of their competitive strategies.