New Research Fellow

January 17, 2024

The North Dakota State University Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Businesses welcomes its newest Faculty Research Fellow.

Dr. Linlin Chai serves as an Associate Professor and Acting MBA Director, boasting a comprehensive and varied academic background. Her educational journey, marked by a blend of diverse disciplines, began with master’s degrees from New York University and Michigan State University and culminated in a Ph.D. in Business and Technology from Iowa State University. This progression of her studies highlights her multifaceted expertise, reflecting a deep and broad understanding of her field.

Dr. Chai innovatively integrates AI technologies into higher education, demonstrating a unique approach to the transformation of online learning. Driven by her passion for the ever-evolving field of AI, she applies these technologies to not only enhance student engagement but also to redefine the learning experience.

Envisioning the future of online education, Dr. Chai is an advocate for a transformative shift. She envisages a future where online education transcends traditional boundaries, leveraging AI to create interactive, game-like learning experiences. These immersive digital realms, enriched by Augmented Reality, aim to bridge the gap between theoretical learning and practical application, engaging students deeply in their subjects.

Beyond her professional role, Dr. Chai is a dedicated lifelong learner, particularly in her free time where she actively engages with the latest advancements in AI. This personal commitment to staying abreast of emerging technologies is a testament to her dedication to continuous growth and her aspiration to keep her teaching methodologies at the cutting edge of educational innovation.


Imagine a bustling, vibrant street market where two neighboring bakeries, each renowned for their unique flavors, engage in a daily dance of rivalry and camaraderie. On the surface, they compete fiercely, each attracting a loyal following with their special recipes. Yet, when a sudden flour shortage threatens the market, these competitors unexpectedly unite, sharing supplies and even co-creating a signature bread. This unexpected alliance amidst competition illustrates a compelling dynamic prevalent in the entrepreneurial world: coopetition.

My research delves into the heart of such intriguing scenarios. It explores the nuanced interplay of competition and cooperation, particularly in the realms of entrepreneurship and small family businesses.

With two significant publications in esteemed premium journals, my initial focus was on how different firms navigate and capitalize on these complex, cross-firm level interactions. Now, I am expanding this exploration to the intra-firm arena, examining how diverse functions within a single organization engage in both competitive and cooperative behaviors. This shift in focus seeks to unravel the intricacies of coopetition within companies’ internal structures.

This research is especially pivotal for entrepreneurship and small family businesses, sectors where understanding and navigating the duality of cooperation and competition — the essence of coopetition — can significantly influence resilience, innovation, and success. My goal is to illuminate how these businesses can strategically manage and leverage this duality, transforming coopetition from a fascinating theoretical concept into a practical, growth-enhancing tool.

Through this work, I aim not only to enrich academic discourse but also to provide entrepreneurs and family business owners with actionable strategies. Understanding and leveraging coopetition could be the key to thriving in today’s competitive yet interdependent business landscape.

For more information, contact Dr. Linlin Chai: [email protected]