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Reflections on East and West
Article Type: Editorial From: Chinese Management Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3
In this issue, you will find some intriguing pieces that dwell on both the Eastern and Western aspects in management. One of the fundamental differences between ancient Chinese scholarly approaches and the science-based, disciplinary Western studies is in evolving highly holistic perspectives of the world. For example, the Mohist scholar, besides propagating extensively the philosophy of universal love, is also expected to be a master of the art of strategy and to innovatively grasp the applied technology of warfare. Indeed, the teaching of Mohism in emphasizing the ideal of universal love is highly relevant in the modern world.
Whilst it will be very difficult to emulate the ancient Mohist strategist in his mastering of war technology, I innovatively tried in my paper, “Implementing Sun Tzu’s Art of War, system of systems (SoS) thinking: integrating pilot’s F22 raptor cockpit and the brain of CEO” to draw lessons for management. In this case, to explain the need to cope with rapid changes in environment through the processing of signals, I drew from both old (Sun Tzu’s Art of War) and new technology (as embedded in US Raptor F22). Despite the US’s weak economy, the Americans lead in creative technology and in emphasizing new perspective, for example, as explored in my work, SoS thinking.
In the next paper, “Rites vs rights: maintaining social order in China and the West”, Ken Baskin explores one of the most relevant themes for the world today: social order. With financial turmoil sweeping the world – causing millions in China to lose their jobs – there is concern to maintain social stability and avoid chaos. The Chinese word for chaos or turbulence is (pinyin: luan) and is what every ruler or emperor in China had feared most of all. Thus, there are intense efforts by the Chinese Government to prevent social unrest from arising due to the crisis. Ken explores social orderliness from the Eastern rites vis-à-vis the western emphasis on rights. As China is evolving towards a more legalistic society, I find the insights that Ken offers on the inner, hidden effects of law in America to be extremely timely.
Following my encouragement to Yenming Zhang, I am glad to present his co-authored paper in Chinese Management Studies (CMS). The piece, “Influential leadership: a Harvard model vs an I-Ching model”, should interest readers from both the East and West. Yenming Zhang, himself educated in Harvard, and Siew Kheng Catherine Chua discuss the contrasts between the deep, ancient Chinese philosophy of leadership with that of the American (Harvard) approach to leadership. If someone is to understand the Chinese mind, he or she has to study and understand the deep philosophy of I-Ching. These ideas, some perhaps more than 5,000 years old, are embedded in Chinese culture. Similarly, Harvard is the single business school that has, over the last century, most profoundly shaped American thinking about management and leadership. I therefore am happy to present their paper.
“Engineering the soul of management in the nano era” by Vijay K. Arora is another kind of paper that I have been keen to showcase in CMS. I met him at University of Technology, Malaysia where he was there as distinguished Visiting Professor. He was a co-panel member on our “Getting Published” workshop. Even though it does not reflect any empirical studies, it is such a deep thinking piece of work. More importantly the article reflects an Asian (including Chinese) synthesis of wisdom as it is relevant now, in this nano-age, just as it was in the past. I take the liberty of asking you to read the following:
[…] Wise men of the East, Buddha, Confucius, and Lao Tzu of ancient civilizations always sought wisdom. Confucius even defined the marks of a wise person. A wise person goes beyond the data, information, knowledge, and cognitive (understanding) engineering. He seeks wisdom that will shape the future of an organization, community, nation, or the world. There comes the difference between seeking knowledge to seeking wisdom […]
Last but not least is an empirical paper that is typical of doctoral studies: the testing of western theory using Chinese data: “The impacts of country risk and cultural distance on transnational equity investments: empirical evidence of Chinese enterprises’ shareholdings in overseas listed companies”. Given the fact that China has to embark on overseas ventures, Chinese behavior in investing should be of central interest to CMS. Impacts of country risk and cultural distance are two key factors that are empirically investigated in this research by Xu Yuehua, Hu Songhua and Fan Xu’ang.
Enjoy the issue!
Check Teck FooEditor-in-Chief