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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Xiaoxian Zhu specialises in talent management and international HRM in high-tech industries. She is a Principal Lecturer (Research and Innovation) and is leading doctoral programmes at Teesside University Business School. Dr Zhu is the Chair of CIPD Tees Valley (2023) and a subject examiner of international examining bodies. For her academic performance in this field, she has a good record of high quality public presentations in the UK and internationally, publications and research funding. She is a Distinguished Professor at Xi'an International University since April 2018 and a Visiting Professor at Zhejiang University of Technology, China.

Xiaoxian has taught in HRM and Business Management at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels at universities in the UK and overseas. She has held the roles of principal lecturer (International) and programme leader of MBA, MA HRM and DBA at TUBS. She has also served some leading UK universities for online MBA and MSc HRM programmes. Prior to her academic career, she was a marketing executive at a multinational automotive company in FT Global 500.

Summary of Research Interests

  • Talent Management; AI impacts on Future of Work
  • Skills development and employability; Knowledge management
  • International HRM and cross-cultural studies; High-Tech sector, Regional development

Research Projects & External Funding


  • 'Development of a Skills-based Data Science driven Workforce Planning Toolkit', Innovation UK, Academic Lead & Academic Supervisor, 2022-2024, £206,439 
  • 'Tees Valley Collaborative Skills Development', European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF), Research Lead, 2020-2023, £1,868,162
  • 'Creative Fuse North East’, AHRC. Co-Investigator. 2016-2019, £1.2m
  • ‘Emergency Medical Response Evaluation’, ILG. Co-Investigator. 2016
  • ‘Prime Minister Initiative 2 (PMI2) British Council Project on Regional Economic Development and University Educational partnership between UK and China’. LeedsMet-ZJUT. With Prof. J. Shutt and Prof. P. Iles.  Funded by British Council. 2010-2013.
  • ‘Fun Door: An open door for your better future career’ Project. CEEMAN 2012 Global Challenge Future Competition. Finalist. With Tingting Jiang. Grand Summit Funded by CEEMAN and UNESCO.
  • ‘Talent Management and Employability in High-Tech Industries in Hangzhou, China’. As part of PhD, working with Prof P. Iles, Prof G. Aouad. Awarded Postgraduate Research Funding, University of Salford, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
  • ‘Talent Management and HRD in high-tech’. Research Funding. Centre of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership Research, University of Salford, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
  • ‘Organisational Transformation and Innovative Development in Industrial Leading Enterprises in Zhejiang, China’. With Prof H. Cheng and Prof. J. Shutt. Funded by Zhejiang Province Government and High Education Key Research Centres. 2011-2013.

PhD and Research Opportunities

Dr Zhu currently welcomes PhD students in Talent Management, International HRM, Skills and Employability, and cross-cultural management, in particular, AI impacts at the workplace/employment (HRM/Talent Management/Employability focused). 


PhD Studentship Opportunities: 'The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on staff well-being: sustainable business and decent work'



Current PhD and DBA students supervised by Xiaoxian are conducting the following research projects:

  • Talent Management and Human capital development (in China; Libya; Nigeria; in the UK)
  • AI impact on Talent Management and Skills (in Turkey; Libya; India, in the UK)
  • Gender issues, Female Entrepreneurship (UK; China)

Doctorate Supervision to Completions:

  • Dr Gary Norris (DBA, 2017)
  • Dr Alistair Bowden (PhD, 2018)
  • Dr Gillian Danby (DBA, 2018)
  • Dr Sayed Alawi (DBA, 2019)
  • Dr Muhammad Nazir (PhD, 2019)
  • Dr Anil Kumar (PhD, 2020)
  • Dr Euphemia Okoye (PhD, 2020)
  • Dr Margaret Amala (PhD, 2021)
  • Dr Kholud Ben Salim (PhD, 2021)
  • Dr Tim Low (PhD, 2021)
  • Dr Alsharif Abogsesa (PhD, 2021)
  • Dr Gemma Sawyer (DBA, 2021)
  • Dr Kristofer Costello (PhD, 2022)
  • Dr Liyanage Rodrigo (PhD, 2022)
  • Dr Hassane Abaali (DBA, 2022)


Enterprise Interest and Activities

Non-Executive Advisory Board: Summit

Dr Zhu is interested in how talent management (talent attraction, talent development and talent retention) can help to improve organisational effectiveness and productivity. Currently, she is working on a project 'redefining leadership under pandemic'.

Dr Zhu welcomes any organisations to get in touch for CPDs and collaborative research project in this area. 

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

FHEA, Certified online academic facilitator.

Modules (20/21):

  • Learning and Development (L7)
  • Human Resource Planning (L7)
  • Research Methods for Doctorate Students (Doctoral)
  • Applying Management and Organisational Studies (Doctoral)
  • Advanced Independent Work (Doctoral)

External Roles and Professional Activities

  • Academic Member CIPD, Committee Member CIPD Tees Valley
  • Academic Advisory Board: Overseas Returnees Centre
  • Association of Business Executive
  • PhD external examiner, Sunderland University, 2016-2019
  • Distinguished Professor: Xi'an International University, China

External positions

External Examiner, University of Derby

1 Oct 202130 Sept 2025

External Examiner, Northumbria University

Feb 201930 Dec 2022

External Examiner, University of Greenwich

1 Sept 201830 Dec 2022

Distinguished Professor, Xi'an International University

13 Apr 2018 → …

External Validation Advisor, Coventry University

Jul 2016Jun 2017


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