Bing Ran, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Public Administration, School of Public Affairs
Professor-in-Charge, Certificate Program in Public Sector Human Resource Management
Office Phone
Office Location
Olmsted Building, W160a

    Bing Ran is a faculty member in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. His research interests focus on the dynamic interactions between society's complex infrastructure and human behavior – a domain generally understood as socio-technical systems. He is currently conducting research in the following areas:

    • Governance and Collaborative Governance Networks:
      Governance refers to the fact that human society is organized to accomplish something. This "organizing" could be achieved through public bureaucracy, private businesses, non-profit organizations, civil society, or even "organizing without organizations". From the public administration perspective, it is widely acknowledged that in order to solve complex and “wicked” public problems, public administrators have had to rely on entities outside of formal public administration utilizing all possible mechanisms such as contracting, outsourcing, public private partnerships, or even partial privatization, leading to the idea of collaborative governance networks. Dr. Ran explores many aspects in governance and in collaborative governance networks, including power and trust issues, the network structural characteristics and their behavioral or policy impacts, the public participation in policy making, the leadership and ethics issues, the government procurement processes and issues, public-private partnerships, etc.
      Collaborators: Dana Kellis; Joe Hafer; Huiting Qi; Zhengjun Luo; Amy Gorman; Erin Smith; James Valentine; Ajay Mirmira; Michael McKenna; Jiguang Wang
    • Social Entrepreneurship and Hybrid Organizations:
      Social entrepreneurship is the creation and distribution of a public service or public good through entrepreneurial oriented organizations whose business activities are largely fed into serving the public good. The essence of the social entrepreneurial organizations is hybriding – a dialectical combination of two or more distinctively different institutional logics (social logic and business logic) & governance structures (service-driven vs. profit-driven). Dr. Ran studies the paradoxes, ambiguity, fuzziness, and dynamism regarding social entrepreneurship and hybrid organizations.
      Collaborators: Scott Weller; Karoli Ssemogerere; Jiguang Wang
    • Organizational Identity (Identification) and Image (Imaging):
      Organizations must answer the question of “who we are” by examining their central, distinctive, and enduring characteristics that define their identities. They need to constantly construct and negotiate their identities within their social structures mediated by the technical and institutional constraints. Dr. Ran investigates the mechanisms used by organizations to influence their internal and external stakeholders for socio-economic or political purposes, and how identities are interpreted and constructed according to social intentions.
      Collaborators: Rob Duimering; Tim Golden; Joe Hafer
    • Knowledge Management and Knowledge Integration:
      Modern organizations are facing the challenges of effectively managing their knowledge assets through dynamic interactions in its socio-technical systems; and employees need to continuously integrate new knowledge into their existing knowledge structure. Dr. Ran studies the current organizational practices of knowledge management, socio-technical interactions in integrating different knowledge domains in an organization, knowledge representation in human cognition, how a person's existing knowledge influences how they make sense of the new knowledge, and how they creatively combine their existing knowledge to generate something new in their cognition via conceptual combinations.
      Collaborators: Frank Safayeni; Rob Duimering; Natalia Derbentseva; Chris Poile; Xu Xu; Sri Harsha Bokka; Erin Smith; Laura Kurtz; Doug Gautsch

    Dr. Ran is an active member of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), Academy of Management (AOM), and the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC). Since 2001, he has been a frequent reviewer, presenter, session chair, and mentor for their annual conferences. He was the Division Chair, Organizational Theory Division, ASAC (2015 – 2016) after serving as the Division Coordinator and Division Editor, Organizational Theory Division, ASAC, between 2013 -2015. He was the committee chair of the membership committee, Public and Non-profit Division, Academy of Management (2012-2013). He serves as the editor of the book series: Contemporary Perspectives on Technological Innovation, Management and Policy (Information Age), co-editor of the book series Contemporary Perspectives In Human Capital And Development (Information Age); and served as the associate editor of Organizational Communication and Information Systems Division (Academy of Management 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013) and the associate editor of Social and Organizational Impacts of IS Track (ICIS - International Conference on Information Systems 2012). He also reviewed manuscripts for journals such as Academy of Management Review, Administration & Society, International Journal of Public Administration, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Sage Open, Administrative Sciences, Public Performance and Management Review, etc. His research has won the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada 2010 Best Paper Award in Organizational Theory.

    Dr. Ran teaches graduate courses in organizational behavior, organizational theory, and human resource management, and serves as the graduate faculty in MPA, MHA, and PhD programs. At the college, he served as the President (2016 – 2017) of the Faculty Senate, Penn State Harrisburg, after serving as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee at Penn State Harrisburg Senate, and Co-Chair, Penn State Harrisburg Strategic Steering Committee (2011 – 2015). He also served as the Penn State Graduate Council representative (2019 - 2021), Professor-in-Charge, MPA program (2019 - 2021); Professor-in-Charge, PhD in Public Administration program (2019 - 2021); and currently serves as Professor-in-Charge, Certificate Program in Public Sector Human Resource Management, School of Public Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg



    Research Interests

    Organizational Identity (Identification) and Image (Imaging)

    Knowledge Management and Knowledge Integration

    Social Entrepreneurship and Hybrid Organizations

    Collaborative Governance Networks


    Selected recent publications. For a full list of publication, please refer to the CV on the left column.

    Wang, H., Qi, H., Ran, B. (2021). Public-Private Collaborations Led by Private-Sector in Combating Crises: Evidence from China’s fighting against COVID-19. Administration & Society. (accepted)

    Ran, B. & Weller, S. (2021). An Exit Strategy for the Definitional Elusiveness: A Three-Dimensional Framework for Social Entrepreneurship. Sustainability. 13(2), 563. DOI: 10.3390/su13020563

    Weller, S. & Ran, B. (2020). Social Entrepreneurship: The Logic of Paradox. Sustainability. Vol. 12 (24), 10642. DOI: 10.3390/su122410642

    J Wu, Y Tang, D Wang, J Chen, X Chen, L Suo, B Ran. (2020). Regional Collaborative Governance: A New Mechanism for Regional Coordinated Development. Exploration and Free Views. Vol. 2020-1; Iss. 10, pp. 4 - 25

    冉冰. (2020). 孪生式纠缠:区域协同治理中的权力与信任. 探索与争鸣, 2020, 1(10): 23-25.

    Wang, J. & Ran, B. (2019) Balancing Paradoxical Missions: How Does Microfinance Rebuild a Sustainable Path in Poverty Alleviation? Sage Open. Vol. 9 (2), First Published: June 16, 2019.

    Ran, B., & Qi, H. (2019). The Entangled Twins: Power and Trust in Collaborative Governance. Administration & Society. Vol. 51(4), pp: 607-636.

    Ran, B., Qi, H., & Oszlak, O. (2018). Gobernanza colaborativa. Estado Abierto. Revista sobre el Estado, la administración y las políticas públicas, 2(3), 47-90.

    Wang, J., & Ran, B. (2018). Sustainable Collaborative Governance in Supply Chain. Sustainability. 2018, 10(1), 171.

    Ran, B., & Qi, H. (2017). Contingencies of power sharing in collaborative governance. American Review of Public Administration. Vol. 48(8) 836 – 851.

    Hafer, J. & Ran, B. (2016). Developing a Citizen Perspective of Public Participation: Identity Construction as Citizen Motivation to Participate. Administrative Theory & Praxis. Vol. 38 (03), pp. 206 – 222

    Ran, B. & Qi, H. (2016). Issues and challenges of Public Service Procurement in China: A Collaborative Governance Perspective. International Journal of Public Policy. Vol. 12, Nos. 3/4/5/6. pp. 339 - 358

    Kellis, D. S. & Ran, B. (2015). Effective Leadership in Public Sector Change Management, Journal of Organizational Change Management. Vol. 28 Iss: 4, pp.614 - 626

    Kellis, D. S. & Ran, B. (2013). Modern Leadership Principles for Public Administration: Time to Move Forward. Journal of Public Affairs. Vol. 13. Iss. 1, pp. 130–141.

    Ran, B. (2012). Ambiguity Reduction through Socio-Technical Interactions in New Product Development. Review of Management Innovation & Creativity. Vol. 5. Iss.14 pp.1-22.

    Ran, B. (2012). Evaluating Public Participation in Environmental Policymaking. Journal of US-China Public Administration. Vol. 9. Iss. 4. pp. 407-423.

    Ran, B. & Golden, T. (2011). Who are we? The Social Construction of Organizational Identity through Sense-Exchanging. Administration & Society. Vol. 43 Iss. 4. pp. 417 - 445.

    Xu, X. & Ran, B. (2010). Familiarity, Abstractness, and the Interpretive Strategies of Noun-noun Combinations. Cognitive Sciences. Vol. 5. Iss. 2. pp. 125-138.

    Ran, B. & Duimering, P.R. (2010). Conceptual Combination: Models, Theories and Controversies. International Journal of Cognitive Linguistics (Inaugural Issue). Vol. 1. Iss. 1. pp. 65-90.

    Plant, J & Ran, B. (2009). Education for Ethics and Human Resource Management: A Necessary Synergy. Public Integrity. Vol.11. No.3. pp.221 – 238.
    Safayeni, F.; Duimering, R.; Zheng, K.; Derbentseva, N.; Poile, C.; Ran, B. (2008). Requirements Engineering in New Product Development: How effective are the necessary interactions? Communications of ACM. Vol.51. No.3. pp.77 – 82.

    Ran, B. (2008). Book Review: Organizing Doubt - Grounded Theory, Army Units and Dealing with Dynamic Complexity. Administrative Theory & Praxis. Vol. 30. No. 3. pp. 377-382

    Ran, B. & Duimering, P.R. (2007). Imaging the Organization: Language use in Organizational Identity Claims. Journal of Business and Technical Communication. Vol. 21 No. 2 pp. 155 – 187.

    Duimering, P.R.; Ran, B., Derbentseva, N.; Poile, C. (2006). The Effects of Ambiguity on Project Task Structure in New Product Development. Journal of Knowledge & Process Management. Vol. 13 No. 4 pp. 239 – 251.


    Ph.D. (Waterloo)

    Course Schedule
    P ADM 505
    P ADM 510
    H ADM 510
    P ADM 511
    P ADM 571