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Peter Peverelli combines very different fields of expertise: China and organization theory. He started learning Chinese at an evening course at age 14, while still in high school. He studied Chinese Language and Culture at Leiden University (1974 – 1979), which included a year in China (1975 – 1976). After a period of academic work in Leiden (1979 – 1982) and Beijing University (1982 – 1984), he decided to shift his career to the commercial world and joined Gist-brocades N.V. (now part of DSM) in 1985. He received his PhD Lit. on a "The History of Modern Chinese Grammar Studies in 1986.

He was stationed in China for the company from 1986 to 1991, after which he established his own consulting practice, advising European companies in their long term relations with Chinese partners. Meanwhile, he had starting acquiring academic knowledge in business administration through self-study, which led to a second PhD (Cognitive Space - A Social Cognitive Approach to Sino-Western Cooperation) in Business Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2000, in which he further developed the Social Integration model of social-constructionist organization theory, launched by Henk van Dongen and his team in the 1980s.

He joined VU University the year after, on a part-time basis, still continuing his consulting practice. He is affiliated with SBE, but regularly advises other faculties and central organisations like VU International Office.

Apart from his business research, Dr. Peverelli has also started applying Fons Trompenaars' 7-Dimension culture model to a wider range of areas, in particular social and political sciences.

A noteworthy expertise is that Dr. Peverelli has been active in research in the Chinese food & beverage industry since 1985.


Dr. Peverelli’s long term research goal is to continuously develop Social Integration Theory, an organization theory initiated in Rotterdam in the 1980’s, within the larger social constructionist paradigm. More concretely, he has applied the model on (Chinese) corporate identity, showing that corporate identity is not a matter of the organization, but emerges from social interaction of people in the organization with people in the environment. He recently switched his research to (Chinese) entrepreneurship. Here the research focuses on how the entrepreneurial identity emerges from the combination of several other social identities of the entrepreneur. Sub-topics in this research project include: social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship and religion, co-entrepreneurship between enterprises en government organizations. This research is conducted in close cooperation with colleagues of the Renmin University School of Business, the Chinese partner organization of SBE.

Popular writings

Dr. Peverelli strongly believes that a proper academic should be able to enlighten a broad non-academic audience with the fruits of his research. He regularly publishes about the Chinese food and beverage and nutrition industries and more recently has also started to publish essays on current Chinese culture and society. You can download his essay on Chinese social media here.


Dr. Peverelli has developed a number of non-generic courses: Organization Perspectives & Dynamics is a Bachelor introductory course in social constructionist organization theory. Diversity in Organizations is a course in the HR Master. The unique feature of this course is that it does not only take account of differences between different people on the work floor, but also of the different identities of each single actor. Social Dynamics in Entrepreneurship is part of the Master of Entrepreneurship and shows how entrepreneurs are not the heroes that often feature in the media, but that entrepreneurship is a social identity always competing with other identities. He also teaches this course in China. Doing Business in Emerging Markets is an obligatory course in the Master of International Business. Understanding the differences in organizing societal and business processes between home and host country is the core teaching goal of this course. Dr. Peverelli is also the coordinator of the Amsterdam Research Project, a program organised by the student union Aureus and SBE, in which a group of students performs market research in an emerging market, financed from paid assignment by Dutch companies.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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