Meet the InnoLabbers: Zaheer Khan


This series introduces the members of University of Vaasa’s InnoLab research platform. Today we’re meeting Zaheer Khan.

Drumroll! I’m honoured to announce the distinguished…

I am a visiting Professor of Internationalization and sustainable innovation at Innolab. Previously, I was a visiting Professor of International Business at the School of Marketing and Communication, University of Vaasa. My research focuses on global technology management, alliances, international new ventures and internationalization of firms from emerging markets. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Senior Fellow of the Advance HE.

Fancy! Can you briefly outline what a visiting Professor like yourself actually does? Asking for a friend.

I examine the internationalization behavior of firms from emerging markets and the post-entry challenges these firms face in foreign markets.  At Innolab, my role is to develop and support the research culture and develop collaborative projects with colleagues. I also advise PhD students about their research.

Sounds like a broad area of study. How come you find it so interesting?

Emerging markets are playing a vital role in the global economy. Still, scholars have traditionally focused their attention on the internationalization motives of firms from advanced markets where formal institutions are quite strong. Thus, it is important to understand the outward investment motives of firms from emerging markets and to see to what extent the theories developed in the context of advanced markets’ firms also apply to firms based in emerging markets.

Makes sense to me! But why you, and why InnoLab?

I have a long-standing connection with Vaasa through Martin Meyer and the late Jorma Larimo. Previously, I was a visiting Professor in International Business with the School of Marketing and Communication, and then I moved to Innolab as I work closely with Martin. We have collaborated on several projects and have co-edited a special issue on Ecommerce Policy and International Business for the Management International Review. Innolab is doing exciting stuff and I believe it has a lot of potential to be one of the leading scholarly communities not only in Finland but globally.

Glad to have you support us! Now: Imagine you run into a group of politicians, business leaders and media moguls. What’s your “elevator pitch”?

World is facing societal grand challenges and the role of multinational enterprises as well small firms is important to address those challenges. Governments across the globe have to work together to find solutions to wicked problems such as climate change, poverty and inequality just to name a few. My recent research focuses on the role of small firms in emerging markets in addressing grand challenges, so I would advise governments of emerging markets to work closely with small and large firms and develop an enabling environment in order to address these societal issues.

Sound advice! You gave them some valuable ideas and they reward you with any one ticket or admission of your choice – where do you go and what do you do?

I would like to see LA Lakers games with my 15-year-old son who is a big fan of Lakers.

Quality time with the family, I like the way you think. Do you have advice for the rest of us?

The recent flooding in Pakistan has had a devastating impact across the entire country, so I would suggest supporting the communities affected by the floods and other similar noble causes.

Makes sense: InnoLab is about helping people and societies, after all. Will you be around if I want to have a chat?

For sure as I am planning to visit Vaasa soon and interact with colleagues.

From the perspective of Zaheer’s coworkers: What makes you appreciate him as a colleague?

“It is hard to keep the answer short in describing what I like most about Zaheer! I really appreciate his willingness to help and provide advice on different topics – both professional and personal. Moreover, I highly value his contributions to our ongoing research together. Finally, one particular trait that stands out, which I both appreciate and have tried to emulate over the years: his commitment to helping the development of junior faculty and PhD students, wherever he goes.”

“Zaheer is one of the most dedicated and prolific researchers I know. He is always open to new collaborations and keen to embark on new projects.”

“Zaheer has exceptionally broad expertise in his field. He is always ready to share his knowledge with colleagues and offer them guidance and encouragement. Zaheer’s work ethic is truly inspiring, and it has been a privilege to work with such a nice colleague.”

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