Laura Poppo

Strategic Management
Edmund P. Learned Professor in Business
Primary office:
Capitol Federal Hall
Room 4174
University of Kansas

Academic Area

Strategic Management


Ph.D. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 1991
MA Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 1989
BA Dartmouth College. Psychology with High Honors, Degree Cum Laude, 1984


  • strategic management
  • international business
  • empirical tests of strategic, economic, and sociological perspectives

Current Activities

Before joining the business school in fall 2007, Poppo was on the faculty at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin School of Business and Washington University’s Olin School of Business. She is known globally as a thought leader for her research in strategy, which has influenced scholars in disciplines including economics, law, marketing, supply chain management, and strategic management and has generated more than 4,700 citations. Her research interests include outsourcing, alliances, vertical integration, contracting, and trust, including the context of doing business in China. Her current research examines problem-solving, creativity, innovation, identity and trust-repair.

Poppo’s research informs her primary teaching interests in strategic leadership, which she has taught to undergraduates, graduate students, managers, and executives of organizations including AIG, University of Kansas Medical Center, Westar Energy, ProPharma Group, and Boys and Girls Club. Her approach to training is to use research validated decision logics to guide decision-making and problem-solving. In this way, strategy becomes a framework that makes hard decisions easier.

Selected Publications

Poppo, L. (2013). Origins of inter-organizational trust: a review and query for further research. In R. Bachmann, A. Zaheer, & (Eds.), Handbook of Advances in Trust Research (pp. 125-145). Cheltenham, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9780857931375 

Schepker, D. J., Oh, W., Martynov, A., & Poppo, L. (2014). The many future of contracts: Moving beyond structure and safegaurding to coordination and adaptation. Journal of Management.

Schepker, Oh, and Martynov are former KU SOB doctoral students

Poppo, L., & Zhou, K. Z. (in press). Managing Contracts for Fairness in Buyer-Supplier Exchanges. Strategic Management Journal

Li, Julie Juan, Poppo, Laura, Zhou, Kevin Zheng 2010. Relational Mechanisms, Formal Contracts, and Local Knowledge Acquisition by International Subsidiaries. Strategic Management Journal, 31(4): 349-370.

Zheng, Kevin Zhou and Poppo, Laura. 2010. Relational Reliability and Contracts in China: The Contingent Role of Legal Enforceability. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(5): 861-882.

Poppo, Laura, Zhou, Kevin Zheng, Zenger, Todd R. (2008) Examining the Conditional Limits of Relational Governances: Specialized Assets, Performance Ambiguity, and Long-Standing Ties. Journal of Management Studies, 45(7), pp. 1195-1216. Download

Zhou, Kevin Zheng, Poppo, Laura, Yang, Zhilin. (2008) Relational Ties or Customized Contracts? An Examination of Alternative Governance Choices in China. Journal of International Business Studies, 39, pp. 526-534. Download

Poppo, Laura, Zhou, Kevin Zheng, Ryu, Sungmin. (2008) Alternative Origins to Interorgranizational Trust: An Interdependence Perspective on the Shadow of the Past and the Shadow of the Future. Organization Science, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 39-55. Download

Li, Julie, Laura Poppo, Kevin Zheng Zhou. (2008) Do Managerial Ties in China Always Produce Value? Competition, Uncertainty, and Domestic vs. Foreign Firms. Strategic Management Journal, 29, pp. 383-400. Download

Sheng, Shibin, James R. Brown, Carolyn Y. Nicholson, and Laura Poppo. (2006) Exchange hazards and relational governance: An empirical test of the role of communication. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23:63-77. Download

Wolfe, Richard, Karl Weick, John Usher, Jim Terborg, Laura Poppo, Audrey Murrell, Janet Dukerich, Deborah Crown, Kevin Dickson, and Jessica Jourdan. (2005) Sport and Organizational Studies: Exploring Synergy. Journal of Management Inquiry,14(2): 182-210. Download

Poppo, Laura. (2003) The Visible Hands of Hierarchy within the M-Form: An Empirical Test of Corporate Parenting of Internal Product Exchanges. Journal of Management Studies, 40(2): 371-398. Download

Poppo, Laura and Todd Zenger. (2002) Do Formal Contracts and Relational Governance Function as Substitutes or Complements. Strategic Management Journal, 23: 707-725. Download

Poppo, Laura and Keith Weigelt. (2000) “A Test of the Resource-Based Model Using Baseball Free Agents”. Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 9(4): 585-614. Download

Poppo, Laura and Todd Zenger. (1998) “Testing Alternative Theories of the Firm: Transaction Cost, Knowledge-Based, and Measurement Explanations for Make-or-Buy Decisions in Information Services”. Strategic Management Journal, 19: 853-877. Download

Poppo, Laura. (1995) "Strategic Coordination and Influence Activities: Two Distinctions of Internal and External Markets". Management Science, 41(12): 1845-1859. Download

Walker, Gordon and Laura Poppo. (1991) "Profit Centers, Single-Source Suppliers and Transaction Costs. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36: 66-87. Download

Teaching Interests

  • Business strategy
  • Corporate strategy
  • Management/leadership development
  • Economic theories of the firm
  • Innovation
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Corporate entrepreneurship

Research Interests

  • Strategy

Selected Publications

Poppo, L., & Zhou, K. Zhen (2014). Managing Contracts for Fairness in Buyer-Supplier Exchanges. Strategic Management Journal, 35(10), 1508-1527.

Schepker, D. J., Oh, W., Martynov, A., & Poppo, L. (2014). The many futures of contracts: Moving beyond structure and safeguarding to coordination and adaptation. Journal of Management, 40(1), 193-225.

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