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Joe Zhu

Professor Zhu is an expert in methods of performance evaluation and benchmarking, and his research interests are in the areas of operations and productivity, and performance evaluation and benchmarking, and the method of data envelopment analysis (DEA).  He was recently been awarded a Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professorship by the Ministry of Education in China and is being honored for his outstanding achievements in the field of operations management.  About 50 such professorships are awarded each year, mostly in the areas of science and technology, and only a few recipients have expertise in the social science and management fields.  Professor Zhu is the first WPI faculty member to receive the award, considered China's most prestigious scholarly honor.

The Industrial Engineer magazine spotlighted research, conducted by Professor Zhu and his collaborators, in which they developed an optimization methodology for measuring efficiency of multistage networks such as supply chains, where certain outputs from the process feed back into the system (e.g., empty bottle returns). Professor Zhu has been developing benchmarking tools for use in service and manufacturing processes. In the summer 2013 issue of Sloan Management Review, Professor Zhu and his collaborator point out that often the results of benchmarking will lead to a major rethinking of past assumptions. Such tools help companies test their assumptions of productivity. The Industrial Engineering (IE) Magazine from the Korean Institute of Industrial Engineers also featured Professor Zhu and his research. He is recognized as one of the top 10 authors of DEA-related articles and is among the top 10 authors in DEA with respect to h-index and g-index.

The author of more than 120 journal articles, books, and textbooks, and with more than 10,000 Google Scholar citations, his research interests include operations and business analytics, productivity modeling, and performance evaluation. Professor Zhu has published in top journals such as Operations Research, Management Science, Sloan Management Review, European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of Operational Research Society, IIE Transactions, OMEGA, and others. He is a co-editor of the Handbook on Data Envelopment Analysis (1st and 2nd editions), published by Springer. Professor Zhu has published and co-edited seven books on performance evaluation and benchmarking using data envelopment analysis (DEA)..

Professor Zhu is the Area Editor of OMEGA in the area of DEA, Multicriteria Decision Analysis, Service Operations, and Sustainability. He is an Associate Editor of INFOR and Data Envelopment Analysis Journal. He is an Editorial Board Member of European Journal of Operational Research and Computers & Operations Research. He is the Associate Series Editor of Springer International Series in Operations Research and Management Sciences. He also serves as PhD dissertation committee member in Universities around world including China, Canada, Netherland, India, Israel, Australia and other countries.

Research Interests

  • Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking
  • Sustainable Design and Performance
  • Service Operations
  • Data Envelopment Analysis


  • PhD, Industrial Engineering
    University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1998

Featured Publications

  • Sherman, H.D., and Zhu, Joe, Analyzing performance in service organizations:  Sloan Management Review, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Summer 2013), 37-42.
  • Zhu, Joe, Quantitative Models for Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking: Data Envelopment Analysis with Spreadsheets. 1st edition (2003), 2nd edition (2009), 3rd edition (2014). Springer, New York.
  • Cooper, W.W., Seiford, L.M. and Zhu, Joe, Handbook on Data Envelopment Analysis. 1st edition (2004), 2nd edition (2011), Springer, New York.
  • Cook, W.D. and Zhu, Joe, Context-dependent assurance regions in DEA, Operations Research, Vol. 56, No. 1 (2008), 69-78.
  • Cook, W.D. and Zhu, Joe, Incorporating multi-process performance standards into the DEA framework, Operations Research, Vol. 54, No. 4 (2006), 656-665.

Full list of publications

Professional Highlights

  • Published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in top journals including Operations Research, Sloan Management Review, and Management Science
  • Over 10,000 total citations based upon Google Scholar.
  • Authored and edited more than 10 books published by Springer and Wiley
  • Featured articles in Industrial Engineer magazine from the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and in the Industrial Engineering (IE) Magazine from the Korean Institute of Industrial Engineers
  • Top ranked researcher based upon citation indexes
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Grant, Develop composite measure of quality of care
  • KPMG Foundation Grant, Hospital quality reporting study
  • National Institute of Health Grant, Nursing home productivity study
  • William Evans Visiting Fellow, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellow
  • Area Editor, OMEGA journal
  • Associate Editor, INFOR
  • Editorial Board Member, Computers & Operations Research
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