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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Xin Li

The purpose of this paper is to comment on Peter Ping Li’s understanding of Zhong-Yong balancing, presented in his article titled “Global implications of the indigenous…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to comment on Peter Ping Li’s understanding of Zhong-Yong balancing, presented in his article titled “Global implications of the indigenous epistemological system from the East: How to apply Yin-Yang balancing to paradox management.” Seeing his understanding of Zhong-Yong balancing being incorrect and incomplete, the author proposes an alternative perspective on Zhong-Yong as dynamic balancing between Yin-Yang opposites.

Design/methodology/approach

The author first explain why Peter P. Li’s “asymmetry” and “superiority” arguments are flawed by referring to the original text of the classical book of Zhong-Yong (中庸) and a comparison between Zhong-Yong and Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean. The author then propose an alternative approach to Zhong-Yong balancing that is embedded in the original text Zhong-Yong but somehow has been neglected by many Chinese scholars. The author concludes the commentary by unifying the two alternative approaches to Zhong-Yong balancing under the inclusion-selection-promotion-transition (ISPT) framework of Zhong-Yong balancing.

Findings

There are three main findings. First, as the original text of Zhong-Yong does not prescribe asymmetry, Peter P. Li’s notion of “Yin-Yang balancing” is ironically unbalanced or anti-Zhong-Yong due to his emphasis on asymmetry to the exclusion of symmetry. Second, due to the equivalency between Zhong-Yong and Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean, Peter P. Li’s assertion that “Yin-Yang balancing” is superior as a solution to paradox management is flawed. Third, his “Yin-Yang balancing” solution is only (the less sophisticated) one of two alternative approaches to Zhong-Yong balancing, i.e., ratio-based combination of Yin-Yang opposites. What Peter P. Li and many other Chinese have neglected is another approach to Zhong-Yong that is embedded in the original text of Zhong-Yong, which I call “analysis plus synthesis.”

Research limitations/implications

As it is a commentary there are no specific limitations except for what can be covered in the space available.

Practical implications

The “analysis plus synthesis” approach to Zhong-Yong can be adopted by practitioners who are demanded to balance between opposite forces in daily life and work.

Social implications

The rejection of the “Yin-Yang balancing being superior” assertion facilitates reduction of friction and non-cooperation between intellectual traditions.

Originality/value

This commentary contributes to the “West meets East” discourse by debunking Peter P. Li’s assertion that Yin-Yang balancing is superior as a solution to paradox management and his prescription that balancing between Yin-Yang opposites must be asymmetric. It also contributes to the Chinese indigenous management research by identifying a largely neglected approach to Zhong-Yong balancing (i.e. “analysis plus synthesis”) that is alternative to the commonly understood ratio-based combination approach (e.g. “Yin-Yang balancing”). In addition, it contributes to the management literature by proposing the ISPT framework of Zhong-Yong balancing.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 December 2017

Xin Li, Verner Worm and Peihong Xie

The paper debunks Peter P. Li’s assertion that Yin-Yang is superior to any other cognitive frames or logical systems for paradox research. The purpose of this paper is to…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper debunks Peter P. Li’s assertion that Yin-Yang is superior to any other cognitive frames or logical systems for paradox research. The purpose of this paper is to alert the Chinese indigenous management researchers to the danger of Chinese exceptionalism and over-confidence.

Design/methodology/approach

To show that Peter P. Li’s assertion is doubtful, the authors identify the flaws in his analysis.

Findings

The authors find that there are three serious flaws in Peter P. Li’s analysis. First, there are four defects in the typology of cognitive frames he built in order to compare Yin-Yang with the others. Second, his understanding of dialectics in general and Hegelian dialectics in particular is flawed. And finally, without resorting to Yin-Yang, many scholars can develop theories that are equivalent to those derived from Yin-Yang.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the page limit, this paper only focuses on arguing that Yin-Yang is not superior to other cognitive frames or logical systems without going one step further to explain in which situations Yin-Yang are valuable and might be more suitable than others for helping us understand some research issues.

Practical implications

This paper implies that we should not blindly believe that the Chinese way of thinking and acting is superior to other people’s. Chinese people should be open-minded in the globalized era, not only promoting their own culture but also appreciating and learning from other cultures.

Social implications

The reduction of cultural exceptionalism and ethnocentrism can make cross-cultural communication and interaction smoother.

Originality/value

This paper is a rigorous critique on the “Yin-Yang being superior” assertion of Peter P. Li.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 26 February 2018

Li Lin, Peter Ping Li and Hein Roelfsema

As the global presence of Chinese firms grows, increasing numbers of Chinese managers are working abroad as expatriates. However, little attention has been paid to such…

Abstract

Purpose

As the global presence of Chinese firms grows, increasing numbers of Chinese managers are working abroad as expatriates. However, little attention has been paid to such Chinese expatriate managers and their leadership challenges in an inter-cultural context, especially across a large cultural distance. To fill the gap in the literature concerning the leadership challenges for expatriate managers in an inter-cultural context, the purpose of this paper is to elucidate the leadership styles of Chinese expatriate managers from the perspectives of three traditional Chinese philosophies (i.e. Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism) in the inter-cultural context of the Netherlands.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this qualitative study were collected via semi-structured, open-ended, narrative interviews with 30 Chinese expatriate managers in the Netherlands.

Findings

The results clearly show that the leadership style of Chinese expatriate managers is deeply rooted in the three traditional Chinese philosophies of Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism, even in an inter-cultural context. Specifically, the study reveals two salient aspects of how Chinese expatriate managers frame and interact with a foreign cultural context from the perspectives of traditional Chinese philosophies. First, the Chinese expatriate managers reported an initial cultural shock related to frictions between the foreign cultural context and Confucianism or Taoism, but less so in the case of Legalism. Second, the Chinese expatriate managers also reported that their interactions with the Dutch culture are best described as a balance between partial conflict and partial complementarity (thus, a duality). In this sense, the leadership style of Chinese expatriate managers is influenced jointly by the three traditional Chinese philosophies and certain elements of the foreign cultural context. This is consistent with the Chinese perspective of yin-yang balancing.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to offer a more nuanced and highly contextualized understanding of leadership in the unique case of expatriate managers from an emerging market (e.g. China) in an advanced economy (e.g. the Netherlands). The authors call for more research to apply the unique perspective of yin-yang balancing in an inter-cultural context. The authors posit that this approach represents the most salient implication of this study. For practical implications, the authors argue that expatriate leaders should carefully manage the interplay between their deep-rooted home-country philosophies and their salient host-country culture. Reflecting on traditional philosophies in another culture can facilitate inter-cultural leadership training for Chinese expatriates.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Minna Jukka, Kirsimarja Blomqvist, Peter Ping Li and Chunmei Gan

The purpose of this paper is to explore how Chinese and Finnish managers in cross-cultural supply-chain relationships evaluate their business partners’ trustworthiness and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how Chinese and Finnish managers in cross-cultural supply-chain relationships evaluate their business partners’ trustworthiness and distrustworthiness.

Design/methodology/approach

Representatives of two Finnish companies and their Chinese and Finnish suppliers were interviewed to collect qualitative data from 23 managers.

Findings

The Chinese managers emphasized relationship-specific, personalized trustworthiness. They highlighted personalized communication and benevolence, which manifested in respect and reciprocity, rooted in the Chinese notion of “guanxi” as personal ties. In contrast, the Finnish managers’ view of trustworthiness was more associated with depersonalized organizational attributes. They emphasized the dimension of integrity, especially promise-keeping. In addition, tentative signs of trust ambivalence, as a balance between trust- and distrust-related factors, were identified for both the Chinese and the Finns.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the exploratory nature of this study the validity of the findings is limited to these data and context. Future studies could explore other national contexts as well as the effects of industry, market position, and position in the supply chain.

Practical implications

The findings of this study bring a valuable understanding of the potential pitfalls and unique challenges in cross-border inter-firm transactions. These can enhance inter-firm trust building in a cross-cultural context.

Originality/value

This study enriches the view of trust as a holistic process of simultaneous evaluation of both trustworthiness and distrustworthiness. In this process, trust ambivalence could serve as the intermediate construct between trust and distrust. These two contrary yet complementary opposites constitute a duality to be managed from the perspective of yin-yang balancing.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Tung‐lung Steven Chang and Peter Ping Li

Legendary Chinese firms have employed e‐business strategies to strengthen their competitive positions in China for market expansion since the late 1990s. E‐business…

Abstract

Legendary Chinese firms have employed e‐business strategies to strengthen their competitive positions in China for market expansion since the late 1990s. E‐business practices have resulted from the convergence of digital technology, intellectual property and customer supremacy. Such convergence is transforming the “old” industrial economy, which was built primarily on tangible assets, standardization, and stand‐alone players, into a “new and virtual” economy, which is being based primarily on intangible assets, customization, and connected players. E‐business requires an integrated alignment of technology, operation, strategy, structure, and human interaction in a continuously expanding network. Consequently, e‐business facilitates a new system—the Paradigm of Network Capitalism, which removes the boundaries of space, time, organization and individuals, and creates virtual communities of stakeholders with new demands for product/service and shared interest and cooperation.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Peter Ping Li

The author argues and explains that the indigenous Eastern epistemological frame of yin-yang balancing can be taken as a unique system of thinking toward a…

Abstract

The author argues and explains that the indigenous Eastern epistemological frame of yin-yang balancing can be taken as a unique system of thinking toward a meta-perspective. It is not only deeply rooted in the indigenous Eastern culture traditions, but also bears salient global implications, especially in the domain of paradox management. The purpose and contribution of this chapter are twofold: (1) to explain the unique and salient features of yin-yang balancing (the “either/and” system to reframe paradox into duality as partially conflicting and partially complementary, both spatially and temporarily) as compared with the Western logic systems (the “either/or” and “both/or” or “both/and” systems); and (2) to explore the global implications of the “either/and” system for future paradox research, including the three unique themes of overlap between opposites with the “seed” of one opposite inside the other; threshold from the contingent balance between partial separation and partial integration in line with specific contexts through three operating mechanisms, and knot for the special role of third-party to shift paradox from a dyadic level to a triadic and even a multiplex level.

Details

Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Learning from Belief and Science, Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-184-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Peter Ping Li

The author argues and explains that the indigenous Eastern epistemological system of Yin-Yang balancing should be taken as a novel system or frame of thinking, which is…

Abstract

Purpose

The author argues and explains that the indigenous Eastern epistemological system of Yin-Yang balancing should be taken as a novel system or frame of thinking, which is deeply rooted in the indigenous Eastern culture traditions, but it has significant global implications, especially in the domain of paradox management. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to provide a detailed elaboration of the indigenous Eastern epistemological system of Yin-Yang balancing in contrast to the Western logic systems; and second, to provide a roadmap for applying the system of Yin-Yang balancing to complex issues in the area of management, in general, and paradoxical issues, in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper with a focus on theory-building.

Findings

The author elaborates on the indigenous features of Yin-Yang balancing, in contrast to Aristotle’s formal logic and Hegel’s dialectical logic in the West, to further explore the former’s global implications for the increased attention to research on paradox management. In particular, the author posits that Yin-Yang balancing appears to be better suited for paradox management than the more commonly used logics available in the Western literature. Built upon the Yin-Yang balancing, a practical tool of Duality Map for paradox management is proposed.

Research limitations/implications

The system of Yin-Yang balancing proposed in this paper has the potential to embrace logical systems available in the West into a geocentric (East-meeting-West) meta-system. This paper further shows how to apply Yin-Yang balancing with the tool of Duality Map to the most salient paradoxes in the domain of management, including value-profit balance (triple bottom lines), exploration-exploitation balance (ambidexterity), cooperation-competition balance (co-opetition), globalization-localization balance (glocalization), institution-agency balance (institutional entrepreneurship), simultaneously positive and negative attitudes toward an entity (ambivalence), and etic-emic balance (geocentric) across all domains of management research.

Originality/value

The primary challenge for management researchers is to find a way to achieve a geocentric integration between the West and the East at the fundamental level of philosophy. The hope is that the philosophical traditions in the East will facilitate such integration. In particular, the Eastern philosophy of wisdom has a unique capacity to reframe paradox from a negative problem (i.e. a problem of inconsistency to be resolved by dualism in terms of separating opposite elements) to a positive solution (i.e. a solution of completeness or holism to be achieved by duality in terms of partially separating and partially integrating opposite elements).

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Dayou Cao, Peter Ping Li and Yuanling Li

The purpose of this perspective article is to identify the developmental trajectory of human resource management (HRM) research in the Mainland China as well as the major…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this perspective article is to identify the developmental trajectory of human resource management (HRM) research in the Mainland China as well as the major research gaps to be filled in the future. In particular, the paper focuses on the current challenges as well as the emerging research trends by reviewing the literature in HRM research in the Mainland China.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a geocentric perspective of HRM theory development to analyze the status quo as well as the emerging trends of the future HRM research in the Mainland China.

Findings

HRM research in the Mainland China exhibited an obvious tendency of adopting an etic approach at the early stage of research, but displaying an emerging trend toward an emic approach at a later stage. However, the current HRM research in the Mainland China, including both etic and the emic approaches, falls seriously short of meeting the high-quality standards of the international academic community.

Originality/value

Through analyzing the status quo of HRM research in the Mainland China, the paper identified an emerging trend toward an integration of both etic and emic approaches in which the two approaches constitute a yin-yang duality as a unity-in-opposites toward a geocentric HRM research framework with a holistic, dynamic and duality etic-emic balance.

Details

Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8005

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Book part
Publication date: 2 July 2012

Peter Ping Li

Purpose – The author introduces the Eastern philosophy of wisdom, especially its epistemology of Yin-Yang Balancing as the Eastern cognitive frame, to shed light on the…

Abstract

Purpose – The author introduces the Eastern philosophy of wisdom, especially its epistemology of Yin-Yang Balancing as the Eastern cognitive frame, to shed light on the debates over the distinction and integration between research and practice as well as between qualitative and quantitative methods so as to solve the problems of relevance-rigor gap as well as complexity-simplicity gap. The author also applies the frame of Yin-Yang Balancing to the development of a novel method of case study.

Methodology/Approach – This is a conceptual article.

Central theme – The Eastern philosophy of wisdom is better at an open-minded exploration of open-ended issues by emphasizing relevance and complexity, while the Western philosophy of science is better at a closed-minded exploitation of close-ended issues by emphasizing rigor and simplicity. A geocentric integration of both Eastern and Western philosophies is needed.

Research and practical implications – Management research is far behind the need for theoretical insights into practical solutions largely due to the increasing gaps between relevance and rigor as well as between complex problems and simple solutions. The root cause of the two gaps lies in the overreliance on the Western philosophy of science, so a new light can be found in the Eastern philosophy of wisdom, and the ultimate solution is a geocentric integration of Eastern and Western philosophies. A novel method of case study can be built by applying the Eastern philosophy.

Originality/Value – The author highlights the urgent needs for the Eastern philosophy of wisdom and its integration with the Western philosophy of science toward a geocentric meta-paradigm. As a specific application of the geocentric meta-paradigm, the author proposes a novel method of case study called Yin-Yang Method.

Details

West Meets East: Building Theoretical Bridges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-028-4

Keywords

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