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Chinese wisdom, management practices and the humanities

Benoit Vermander (Fudan University, School of Philosophy (Shanghai), Taipei Ricci Institute, Taipei, Taiwan)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims at showing that the relationship between Chinese classical wisdoms and managerial practices should not be reduced to the establishment of an “art of war” applicable to management practices, but should rather be understood as an ever‐evolving work of critical reinterpretation, so as to liberate the creative and strategic potential that this tradition embodies.

Design/methodology/approach

It does so by critically deconstructing the question of the “relevance” of Chinese wisdom for managerial practices, by assessing the way contemporary Sinology understands and interprets the concept of “Chinese wisdom”, and by designing a strategy for applying these insights to managerial education.

Findings

It thus shows that only historical contextualization and textual studies can ground an understanding of Chinese tradition applicable to managerial education.

Practical implications

By doing so, it helps educators to re‐anchor managerial education into the field and methodologies of humanities studies.

Originality/value

It thus goes against the utilitarian and over‐simplified syntheses of Chinese thought that are currently dominant in the managerial literature about China, and proposes new ways for making the study of China a channel through which to develop in our students a sense of relativity, complexity and empathy applicable to an array of cultural contexts.

Keywords

Citation

Vermander, B. (2011), "Chinese wisdom, management practices and the humanities", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 No. 7/8, pp. 697-708. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621711111150218

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited