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Is Yin-Yang superior for paradox research?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Xin LiORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


PurposeThe 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/approachTo show that Peter P. Li’s assertion is doubtful, the authors identify the flaws in his analysis.FindingsThe 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/implicationsDue 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 implicationsThis 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 implicationsThe reduction of cultural exceptionalism and ethnocentrism can make cross-cultural communication and interaction smoother.Originality/valueThis paper is a rigorous critique on the “Yin-Yang being superior” assertion of Peter P. Li.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li X, Worm V, Xie P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

Year: 2018

Volume: 25

Issue: 3

Pages: 501-514

Online publication date: 06/08/2018

Acceptance date: 21/09/2017

Date deposited: 05/03/2021

ISSN (print): 2059-5794

ISSN (electronic): 1758-6089

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/CCSM-06-2016-0116


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