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Peter Williamson

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Peter Williamson

Honorary Professor of International Management
Fellow and Director of Studies in Management at Jesus College

BA (Macquarie University), PhD (Harvard University)

Research interests

Globalisation and its implications for corporate strategy; strategies for success in China and the internationalisation of Chinese companies and their global impact, merger and acquisition strategy and post-merger integration; business ecosystems and the management of networks of strategic alliances; strategies for a carbon-constrained world.

Subject group: Strategy & International Business

Professional experience

Professor Williamson has wide experience in research, consulting and executive education as well as serving as a non-executive director and chairman of both publically listed companies and new ventures in industries as diverse as whisky, textiles, hedge fund management and Chinese software. He has lived and worked in Australia, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, before returning to Britain to join Cambridge Judge Business School where he is Academic Director of the Advanced Leadership Programme and Jesus College, where he is Director of Studies in Management. He currently serves as a non-executive director of the global renewal energy firm Green Gas International and non-executive chairman of the technology-enabled training company Imparta.

Professor Williamson was formerly with the Boston Consulting Group in London, and Merrill Lynch. He serves on the editorial boards of European Management JournalBusiness Strategy Review, and Academy of Management Learning and Education. Peter has acted as consultant on business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and international expansion to numerous companies, governments and international organisations throughout the Asia-Pacific region as well as in Europe and North America. He has experience in China since 1983, assisting numerous multinationals and joint ventures, and more recently, Chinese companies venturing abroad.

Previous appointments

Prior to joining Cambridge Judge Business School, Professor Williamson was ten years with the Asian Business and International Management faculty at INSEAD (1997-2007). Between 2003 and 2007 he was also Visiting Professor in Strategy at the Cheung Kong Business School in Beijing. He was Visiting Professor of Global Strategy at Harvard Business School (1993-1996) and Dean of MBA Programmes and Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School (1987-1992).

Awards & honours

  • Sloan-Pricewaterhouse Coopers Award honouring those articles that have contributed to the enhancement of management practice, 2005
  • Lloyds Tercentenary Fellow, 2001
  • Fulbright Scholar, 1980-1984
  • Frank R. Knox Memorial Fellow, 1980-1984

Selected publications

Here are a selection of Peter Williamson’s publications. Please see the “Selected publications” tab above for a more comprehensive list.

De Meyer, A. and Williamson, P.J. (2020) Ecosystem edge: sustaining competitiveness in the face of disruption. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Symeou, P.C., Zyglidopoulos, S. and Williamson, P. (2018) “Internationalization as a driver of the corporate social performance of extractive industry firms.” Journal of World Business, 53(1): 27-38 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2017.07.004)

Williamson, P.J. and Raman, A.P. (2011) “How China reset its global acquisition agenda.” Harvard Business Review, 89(4): 109-114

Zeng, M. and Williamson P.J. (2007) Dragons at your door: how Chinese cost innovation is disrupting the rules of global competition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. (Also translated into Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian and Russian)

Doz, Y., Santos, J. and Williamson, P. (2001) From global to metanational: how companies win in the knowledge economy. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. (Also translated into Korean, Italian, and Portuguese)

Markides, C.C. and Williamson, P.J. (1994) “Related diversification, core competences and corporate performance.” Strategic Management Journal, 15(Special Issue, Summer): 149-165

Journal articles

Markides, C.C. and Williamson, P.J. (1994) “Related diversification, core competences and corporate performance.” Strategic Management Journal, 15(Special Issue, Summer): 149-165

Williamson, P.J. and Zeng, M. (2004) “Strategies for competing in a changed China.” MIT Sloan Management Review, 45(4): 85-91

Santos, J., Doz, Y. and Williamson, P. (2004) “Is your innovation process global?” MIT Sloan Management Review, 45(4): 31-37

Williamson, P. and Zeng, M. (2008) “How to meet China’s cost innovation challenge.” Ivey Business Journal (Online Edition), 72(3): article 761

Williamson, P. and Zeng, M. (2009) “Value-for-money strategies for recessionary times.” Harvard Business Review, 87(3): 66-74

Williamson, P.J. (2010) “Cost innovation: preparing for a ‘value-for-money’ revolution.” Long Range Planning, 43(2-3): 343-353

Williamson, P.J. and Raman, A.P. (2011) “How China reset its global acquisition agenda.” Harvard Business Review, 89(4): 109-114

Yin, E. and Williamson, P.J. (2011) “Rethinking innovation for a recovery.” Ivey Business Journal (Online Edition), May/Jun

Williamson, P.J. and De Meyer, A. (2012) “Ecosystem advantage: how to successfully harness the power of partners.” California Management Review, 55(1): 24-46

Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E. (2014) “Accelerated innovation: the new challenge from China.” MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(4): 1-8

Williamson, P.J. (2015) “The competitive advantages of emerging market multinationals: a re-assessment.” Critical Perspectives on International Business, 11(3/4): 216-235 (DOI: 10.1108/cpoib-02-2014-0008)

Santos, J.F.P. and Williamson, P.J. (2015) “The new mission for multinationals.” MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(4): 45-54

Wan, F., Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E. (2015) “Antecedents and implications of disruptive innovation: evidence from China.” Technovation, 39-40: 94-104 (DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2014.05.012)

Zyglidopoulos, S., Williamson, P. and Symeou, P.C. (2016) “The corporate social performance of developing country multinationals.” Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(3): 379-406 (DOI: 10.1017/beq.2016.41)

Williamson, P.J. (2016) “Building and leveraging dynamic capabilities: insights from accelerated innovation in China.” Global Strategy Journal, 6(3): 197-210 (DOI: 10.1002/gsj.1124)

Williamson, P.J. (2016) “Chinese acquisitions in Europe: absorptive capacity and impacts on competitive advantage.” Uluslararasi Iliskiler (International Relations), 13(49): 61-83

Rezk, R., Singh Srai, J. and Williamson, P.J. (2016) “The impact of product attributes and emerging technologies on firms’ international configuration.” Journal of International Business Studies, 47(5): 610–618 (DOI: 10.1057/jibs.2016.9)

Williamson, P.J., Wu, X. and Yin, E. (2018) “Super-fluidity: creating an organization that flexes with the market [in Chinese].” Harvard Business Review China, May: 121-127

Williamson, P. and Wan, F. (2018) “Emerging market multinationals and the concept of ownership advantages.” International Journal of Emerging Markets, 13(3): 557-567 (DOI: 10.1108/IJoEM-08-2017-0319)

Williamson, P.J., Hoenderop, S. and Hoenderop, J. (2018) “An alternative benchmark for the validity of China’s GDP growth statistics.” Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, 16(2): 171-191 (DOI: 10.1080/14765284.2018.1438867)

Symeou, P.C., Zyglidopoulos, S. and Williamson, P. (2018) “Internationalization as a driver of the corporate social performance of extractive industry firms.” Journal of World Business, 53(1): 27-38 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jwb.2017.07.004)

Hertenstein, P. and Williamson, P.J. (2018) “The role of suppliers in enabling differing innovation strategies of competing multinationals from emerging and advanced economies: German and Chinese automotive firms compared.” Technovation, 70–71: 46-58 (DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2018.02.008)

Wan, F., Williamson, P. and Yin, E. (2019) “Enabling cost innovation by non-traditional organizational processes: the case of Chinese firms.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 139: 352-361 (10.1016/j.techfore.2018.12.003)

Ramamurti, R. and Williamson, P.J. (2019) “Rivalry between emerging-market MNEs and developed-country MNEs: capability holes and the race to the future.” Business Horizons, 62(2): 157-169 (DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2018.11.001)

Trevor, J. and Williamson, P. (2019) “How to design an ambidextrous organisation.” The European Business Review, 24 April 2019

Williamson, P.J., Wu, X. and Yin, E. (2019) “Learning from Huawei’s superfluidity.” Ivey Business Journal, May/Jun

Williamson, P. and De Meyer, A. (2019) “How to monetize a business ecosystem.” Harvard Business Review, 30 September 2019

Wan, F., Williamson, P. and Pandit, N.R. (2020) “MNE liability of foreignness versus local firm-specific advantages: the case of the Chinese management software industry.” International Business Review, 29(1): 101623 (DOI: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2019.101623)

Williamson, P., Guo, B. and Yin, E. (2021) “When can Chinese competitors catch up? Market and capability ladders and their implications for multinationals.” Business Horizons (forthcoming)

Books, monographs, reports & case studies

Doz, Y., Santos, J. and Williamson, P. (2001) From global to metanational: how companies win in the knowledge economy. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. (Also translated into Korean, Italian, and Portuguese)

Williamson, P.J. (2004) Winning in Asia: strategies for the new millennium. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. (Also translated into Korean and Italian)

Zeng, M. and Williamson P.J. (2007) Dragons at your door: how Chinese cost innovation is disrupting the rules of global competition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Williamson, P. and De Meyer, A. (2010) “ARM Holdings Plc: ecosystem advantage.” European Case Clearing House (ECCH).

Williamson, P.J., Ramamurti, R., Fleury, A. and Fleury, M.T. (eds.) (2013) The competitive advantage of emerging country multinationals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Williamson, P. and Wang, M.J. (2015) “Alibaba Group’s Taobao: from intermediary to ecosystem enabler.” The Case Centre: 314-139-1.

De Meyer, A. and Williamson, P.J. (2020) Ecosystem edge: sustaining competitiveness in the face of disruption. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Book chapters

Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E. (2009) “Racing with the Chinese dragons.” In Alon, I. et al. (eds.): China rules: globalization and political transformation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.69-100

Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E.Y. (2013) “The new wave of disruptive innovation from China: why and how global incumbents need to respond.” In: Ling, P.P. (ed.) Disruptive innovation in Chinese and Indian businesses: the strategic implication for local entrepreneurs and global incumbents. Abingdon, UK and New York, NY: Routledge, pp.179-198.

Williamson, P.J. and Yin, E.Y. (2013) “Innovation by Chinese EMNEs.” In: Williamson, P, Ramamurti, R, Fleury, A. and Fleury, M. T. L. (eds.): The competitive advantage of emerging market multinationals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.64-94

Williamson, P.J. and Wan, F. (2019) “How real are the opportunities for multinationals in China?” In: Grosse, R. and Meyer, K.E. (eds.) The Oxford handbook of management in emerging markets. New York: Oxford University Press, pp.745-762

Williamson, P. (2020) “Realizing the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative: what role for M&A?” In: De Cremer, D., McKern, B. and McGuire, J. (eds.) The Belt and Road Initiative: opportunities and challenges of a Chinese economic ambition. Los Angeles: Sage. (forthcoming)

Working papers

Trevor, J. and Williamson, P. (2014) “A blueprint for the next generation organisation: reconciling agility, efficiency and purpose.” Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.01/2014. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Dangers of de-globalisation

Worrying signs of a knee-jerk reaction to COVID-19, says Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management. There are worrying signs of a…

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Teaming up

Coronavirus brings partner ecosystems to the fore, writes Professor Peter Williamson of Cambridge Judge Business School. Professor Peter Williamson Commenting on the…

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Systematic success

Companies can meet the challenge of disruptive innovation by adopting a new "ecosystem" strategy, says Professor Peter Williamson. Companies can meet the…

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Internet oversight urged

Create a WTO-equivalent to oversee the internet, recommends major new report by panel chaired by Professor Peter Williamson of Cambridge Judge Business…

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China cost innovation

Unconventional organisational processes, not only lower-cost talent, have led to cost innovation among Chinese companies, says a new study co-authored by Peter…

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Business lessons from China

A new Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management launches at Cambridge Judge Business School to study world-beating Chinese firms and what the West…

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Chinese economic growth

A new study co-authored by Professor Peter Williamson and Simon Hoenderop of Cambridge Judge calls for an alternative 'bottom-up' index to measure…

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A new model for corporate social responsibility

Your business's CSR activity must adapt to the market you're in, new research reveals. In 2017, any company worth its salt has…

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Tearing up the innovation rulebook

Why a new approach to innovation could give Chinese companies the edge over their western rivals, says Cambridge Judge professor Peter Williamson.…

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Local customs

Multinationals need to adapt their strategy to compete with local companies, says MIT Sloan Management Review article co-authored by Peter Williamson of…

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Strategy & Business : Creating a powerful ecosystem to sustain competitiveness

Professor Peter Williamson of Cambridge Judge Business School writes about ecosystem strategies in Business & Strategy magazine. The article analyses three global…

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China Daily: Shaping the future

Professor Peter Williamson of Cambridge Judge Business School comments in innovation in China. “The capabilities in rapid innovation and improving industrial processes…

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China Daily: Country makes giant strides in innovation

Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, comments on Chinese innovation. "The capabilities in rapid innovation and…

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Business Because: What does Huawei’s UK 5G ban mean for the Internet Of Things?

Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, comments on 5G and Internet of Things. “Much of the…

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China Daily: Unified effort will be crucial to recovery

Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, writes about post COVID-19 economic recovery. “Both Europe and China…

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Shanghai Daily: Worrying signs of knee-jerk reaction to COVID-19

Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, discusses on how deglobalisation and nationalism will hurt supply chains…

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Sputnik News: Trump’s anti-China rhetoric is unproductive but might help him win 2020 race, analysts suggest

Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, comments on the U.S. – China relationships. "I think it…

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Government Computing: Internet needs monitoring by WTO-type body, says new report

Create a WTO-equivalent to oversee the internet, recommends a major new report by a panel chaired by Professor Peter Williamson of Cambridge…

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CCTV (English): UK gives Huawei green light to help build 5G network

Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, comments on Huawei’s role in building the UK's 5G network.…

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Harvard Business Review: How to monetize a business ecosystem

An article co-authored by Peter Williamson, Honorary Professor of International Management at Cambridge Judge Business School, discusses what companies should do in…

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Contact details

Peter Williamson
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG
UK

Tel: +44 (0)1223 764229

[email protected]