Keyan Lai Headshot

Lecturer in International Human Resource Management

+44 (0)131 651 1069


I received my PhD from Cardiff Business School in 2017 and joined the University of Edinburgh Business School in July 2019 following two years at the University of St Andrews as an Associate Lecturer.

My research focuses on identity and legitimacy issues of emerging market MNCs and revolves around three real world questions: How are Chinese and Russian firms perceived and evaluated by the Western societies? How do Chinese and Russian firms tackle the common illegitimacy problem they face in the West? How can the British government and EU make a balance between maintaining openness to foreign direct investments and ensuring national interest not undermined by such openness? Some of the research projects I have been working on include:

  1. Identity regulation in a Chinese MNC (published in Organization Studies)
  2. Organisational identity of Chinese tech giant Huawei
  3. Legitimacy evaluation and legitimation strategies of three stigmatised Chinese and Russian firms
  4. Discourse on national security and FDI screening in USA, EU, and the UK.

I am primarily a qualitative researcher and I am particularly interested in discourse analysis and historical organisation studies. 

Before embarking on an academic career, I worked with HSBC, management consultancy Towers Watson and game developer Ubisoft. Previously I also worked as an editor in a Shanghai-based publishing house for several years.

Research Interests

  • Organisational legitimacy and legitimation 
  • Organisational identity 
  • Organisational and media discourse 
  • Historical organisation studies 
  • Chinese and Russian firms in the West

Research Area

Publication Type Actions