Yuan Li


Professional Overview: 

Dr. Yuan Li joined Saint Mary's College of California in 2015. She obtained her PhD in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Before coming back to California, she was an assistant professor of strategy and organization at McGill University in Canada . Her areas of research interests are organization theory, institutional change, rhetorical perspectives, and China's economic transition. 

School of Economics and Business Administration » Organizations and Responsible Business
SMC Email Address: 


PhD in Business Administration, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, LA

MA, Tsinghua University, Beijing

BA, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Courses Taught

BUSAD 131, Managing and Leading in Organizations

GMAN 512, Business Strategy


Committee member, AARC, 2016-

Member, Working Group of American Diversity and Global Perspectives, CCC, 2016-

Committee member, FDC of SEBA, 2015-



  • Li, Y. Intentionality: A conceptual link between institutional work and institutional logics. European Group of Organization Studies (Substream 56: Institutional theory: Taking stock and retooling), Copenhagen, Denmark, July 6-8, 2017.
  • Li, Y. (with Fengbin, Wang and Yuening Liu). Paradox multiplicity and evolution.
    • Academy of Management conference, Atlanta, August 4-8, 2017.
    • European Group of Organization Studies (Substream 35), Naples, Italy, July 7-9, 2016.
  • Li, Y. Elite controversy and the institutional change of China's stock market.
    • European Group of Organization Studies (Substream 19), Naples, Italy, July 7-9, 2016.
    • Academy of Management Conference, Anaheim, August 5-9, 2016.
    • American Sociological Association, Seattle, August 20-23, 2016.
  • Li, Y. A semiotic theory of institutionalization: Decoupling between action, words and meaning.
    • Academy of Management Conference (OMT Division), Philadelphia, August 1-5, 2014.
    • EGOS (Substream 7), Montreal, July 3-5, 2013.
  • Li, Y. Casuistry and institutional contradictions: China’s transformation from plan to market.
    • 2nd HEC Montreal International Business Research Conference, April 17, 2014.              
    • Academy of Management Conference, Orlando, August 9-12, 2013.
    • HEC Strategy as Practice Study Group Strategic Discourse Days Conference, November 1, 2011.
  • Li, Y. Managing controversies during institutional transformation.
    • Fifth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies, Chania, June 20-22, 2013.
    • EGOS (Substream 33), Helsinki, July 5-7, 2012.
  • Li, Y. Entrepreneurship as an Emerging Myth: Observations from three Regions in China.
    • Academy of Management Annual Meeting (Entrepreneurship Division), San Antonio, August 2011.
    • The Critical Management Studies Workshop, Montreal, August, 2010.
  • Li, Y., Green, S. Institutional Agency and the Rhetorical Toggling of Social Position and Social Structure.
    • National Communications Association Annual Convention, Chicago, November 2009.
    • Academy of Management Annual Meeting (OMT Division), Anaheim, August 2008.
  • Li, Y. Taking Stock on Social Movement Perspectives: What Do We Know? Where Do We Go? Academy of Management Annual Meeting (OMT Division), Chicago, August 2009.
  • Li, Y. Rhetoric of Legitimation. Academy of Management Annual Meeting (OMT Division), Anaheim, August 2008.
  • Li, Y. Decoupling and Institutionalization: The Ambiguity in Neoinstitutional Theory Revisited. Academy of Management Annual Meeting (OMT Division), Anaheim, August 2008.
  • Li, Y. A Dramatistic Approach on the Rhetoric of Total Quality Management. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Boston, August 2008.
  • Li, Y. The Intelligentsia and the Ideological Shifts in China’s Transition.
    • Critical Management Studies Research Workshop, Los Angeles, August 2008.
    • The Chinese Economists Society Annual Conference, Tianjin, China, April 2008.
  • Li, Y. Social Movements, Rhetoric, and the Building of Institutions. Academy of Management Annual Meeting (OMT Division), Atlanta, August 2006.


  • Li, Y., Green, S., & Hirsch, P. 2018. “Rhetoric and authority in a polarized transition: The case of China’s stock market.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 27(1):69-95.
  • Li, Y. 2017. A semiotic theory of institutionalization. Academy of Management Review, 42(3): 520-547.
  • Green, S., Li, Y. (2011). Rhetorical Institutionalism: Language, Agency, and Structure in Institutional Theory since Alvesson 1993. Journal of Management Studies, 48(7): 1662-1697.
  • Green, S., Li, Y. and Nohria, N. (2009). Suspended in Self-Spun Webs of Significance: A Rhetorical Model of Institutionalization and Institutionally Embedded Agency. Academy of Management Journal, 52(1): 11-36.
  • Davison, R.M., Martinsons, M.G., Li, Y. and Lo, H.W.H. (2009). The Ethics of IT Professionals in China. Communications of the ACM, 52(9): 153-155.
  • Davison, R., Li, Y. and Kam, C. (2006). Web-Based Data Collection in China. Journal of Global Information Management, 14 (3): 70-89, reprinted as a book chapter in Hunter, G. and Tan, F. (Eds.) International Perspectives in Advancing Information Management: Global Adaptations, Idea Group Publishing, 167-188.
  • Davison, R.M., Martinsons, M.G., Ou, C.X.J., Murata, K., Drummond, D., Li, Y., Lo, H.W.H. 2009. The Ethics of IT Professionals in Japan and China. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(Special Issue): 834-859.
  • Li, Y. (2014). Institutions and Entrepreneurship: Three regions, three tales. Building business in emerging and developing countries: challenges and opportunities. Chrysostome, E., Molz, R., and Yan, L. Eds. Routledge, 92-117.