Xiaoyun “Aarn” Cao

  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Management


Xiaoyun “Aarn” Cao received her Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015. Previously in 2009, she graduated with a master’s degree in human resources and industrial relations from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Her research explores the mechanisms that contribute to positive experiences in organizations. She possesses expertise in the areas of leadership, social networks, organizational culture, and change management. Her work has been published in major academic journals including the Journal of Management. She has also conducted research for China’s national government and has consulted for a number of Chinese companies. Before started her academic career, she worked for transnational corporations including Carrefour, Coca Cola, and Ogilvy.

Cao has more than 10 years of accumulated teaching knowledge and experience in the United States and China, and has taught in a variety of contexts spanning both graduate and undergraduate levels, executive- and researcher-oriented courses, and in various fields including leadership theories and practices, human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational theory, marketing, research methods, and business analytics. 


Ph.D., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
M.A., Human Resources and Industrial Relations, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
B.A., Trade and Economics, Renmin University of China, Beijing

Research Interests

Social networks in organizations
Employment arrangements and idiosyncratic deals
Organizational culture
Organizational change and development
Workplace discretionary behaviors


Refereed Journal Articles

Chaudhry, A., Cao, X., Liden, R. C., Point, S., & Vidyarthi, P. R. (2021). A Meta-Review of Servant Leadership: Construct, Correlates, and the Process. Journal of Comparative International Management, 24(2), 59-99.

Marinova, S. V., Cao, X., & Park, H. (2019). Constructive Organizational Values Climate and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: A Configurational View. Journal of Management, 45(5), 2045-2071.

Panaccio, A., Henderson, D. J., Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., & Cao, X. (2014). Toward an Understanding of When and Why Servant Leadership Accounts for Employee Extra-Role Behaviors. Journal of Business and Psychology, 1-19.

Other Publications

Meuser, J.D., & Cao, X. (2022). Servant or sinister? A process model of follower appraisal of leader-initiated i-deals. In S. Anand & Y. Rofcanin (Eds.), Idiosyncratic Deals at Work (pp. 71-94). Palgrave Macmillian, Cham.

Liden, R. C., Wu, J., Cao, X., & Wayne, S. J. (2016). LMX Measurement. In T. Bauer & B. Erdogan (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Leader-Member Exchange. Medicine-US.

Kluemper, D. H., Davison, H. K., Cao, X., & Wu, B. (2015). Social Networking Websites and Personnel Selection: A Call for Academic Research. In J. Oostrom & I. Nikolaou (Eds.), Employee Recruitment, Selection, and Assessment: Contemporary Issues for Theory and Practice (pp. 73-91). Psychology Press-Taylor & Francis.


Undergraduate Programs in Business

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)