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Dr Karen Tian


Newcastle Business School (International Business)

Career Summary


Dr. Karen Tian is Lecturer of International Business at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Karen comes from Shenyang, a Manchu historical city of north-eastern China, with a population of 8 million. Karen's research focus on knowledge transfer, international business and Chinese economics and Management.

Research Expertise
- Knowledge management - Absorptive transfer - Cultural differences - Chinese firms and international business - Knowledge transfer - Knowledge stickiness - MNC and Alliances

Teaching Expertise
Dr. Tian's teaching areas are focus on International Business discipline, particularly cross cultural management.

Administrative Expertise

Dr. Tian has been actively collaborate with numbers of Chinese Universities and successfully attracted RMB 540,000 Chinese National Social Science Grant with Dr. Yan Liu from ShuZhou University China in 2012.


  • PhD, University of Ballarat
  • Graduate Diploma in Business and Management, Prime College - Malaysia
  • Master of Business Administration, University of Ballarat


  • Absorptive Capacity
  • International Alliances
  • International Business
  • Internationalisation
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge transfer


  • Mandarin (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
150308 International Business 60
159999 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
Newcastle Business School
Lecturer University of Newcastle
Newcastle Business School

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/08/2008 -  Lecturer in International Business University of Newcastle
Business and Law


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (3 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Mitchell R, Boyle B, O Brien R, Malik A, Tian K, Parker V, et al., 'Balancing cognitive diversity and mutual understanding in multidisciplinary teams', Health Care Management Review, (2016)

© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.BACKGROUND:: Interprofessional health care teams are increasingly utilized in health care organizations. Although there is ... [more]

© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.BACKGROUND:: Interprofessional health care teams are increasingly utilized in health care organizations. Although there is support for their capacity to solve complex problems, there is also evidence that such teams are not always successful. In an effort to understand the capacity of interprofessional teams to innovate successfully, we investigate the role of cognitive diversity to establish whether and how knowledge differences lead to innovation. PURPOSES:: The aim of this study was to construct and investigate a model of team innovation predicted by cognitive diversity. In addition to investigating the direct impact of cognitive diversity in interprofessional health care teams, we develop a model incorporating mediated and moderated effects. In this study, we explore the role of debate as a mediating factor capable of explaining the impact of cognitive diversity on innovation. We further propose that the link between cognitive diversity and innovation through debate is contingent upon trans-specialist knowledge, knowledge shared by health care professionals, spanning specialist divides and enabling mutual understanding. METHODOLOGY:: The hypotheses were investigated using a cross-sectional, correlational design. Survey data received from 75 interprofessional teams employed in an acute care setting, representing a 36% response rate, were used to investigate our model. FINDINGS:: Analysis supports a significant relationship between cognitive diversity and debate, which is stronger when teams rate highly for trans-specialist knowledge. Results also support a positive relationship between debate and innovation and our full moderated mediated pathway. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:: A range of strategies are indicated by our results to increase innovation in interprofessional teams. In particular, interventions such as interprofessional education and training, which have been shown to facilitate the development of shared language and meaning, are recommended by our findings.

DOI 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000088
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Rebecca Mitchell, Brendan Boyle, Ashish Malik
2014 Tian F, Mahmood A, 'Exploring antecedents of successful international knowledge transfer through strategic alliance: Evidence from China', Academy of Taiwan Business Management Review, 10 34-40 (2014) [C1]
Co-authors Amir Mahmood
2012 Tian F, Lynch D, Mardaneh K, 'Absorptive capacity in strategic alliances with Chinese firms: Implications for strategic management education', Journal of Strategic Management Education, 8 1-16 (2012) [C1]

Conference (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Tian F, Zhou L, Zhao SM, Zhang XF, 'Visionary leadership and employee creativity: evidence from knowledge intensive organizations in China' (2015)
2009 Tian F, 'Determinants of knowledge transfer in Chinese companies', CIOS: Centre for Institutional and Organisational Studies Inaugural Conference Abstracts (2009) [E3]
2009 Tian F, Lowe J, Lynch D, 'Managing knowledge transfer in new environments: A study of Chinese firms', SMS 29th Annual International Conference: Session Details (2009) [E3]
2008 Tian F, Lowe J, Lynch D, 'Knowledge transfer and absorptive capacity in Chinese companies', Proceedings: 2008 International Conference on Technology Management and Innovation in China: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century (2008) [E1]
Show 1 more conference

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 3
Total funding $110,100

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20132 grants / $108,400

Ethical issues and sustainability in Chinese organizations$92,900

Funding body: Chinese National Social Science Grant

Funding body Chinese National Social Science Grant
Project Team

Karen Tian

Scheme Discovery Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2015
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE

FDI Technology Transfer and Spill Over and Domestic Chinese Firm’s Innovation$15,500

Funding body: Chinese Education Department

Funding body Chinese Education Department
Project Team

Karen Tian

Scheme Discovery Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2015
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE

20081 grants / $1,700

Camot International Conference, beijing China, 21/10/2008 - 23/10/2008$1,700

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Karen Tian
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0189554
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 PhD Role of Intellectual Capital in Firm Absorptive Capacity
PhD (Management), Faculty of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle


Prestigious Chinese Partnership

June 24, 2014

Dr Karen Tian of the Newcastle Business School has received a collaborative Chinese National Science Grant

Dr Karen Tian


Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law

Casual Academic
Newcastle Business School
Faculty of Business and Law

Focus area

International Business

Contact Details

Phone (02) 4921 5981
Fax (02) 4921 7398


Room UNH319B
Building University House
Location City Campus