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Can Yin-Yang guide Chinese indigenous management research?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Xin LiORCiD


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In this article, I argue that it is misleading to dichotomize the West as being either/or and the East as being both/and. The West has thought dialectically since ancient Greece. I offer a typology to compare and contrast three dialectical or non‐either/or logical systems or ways of thinking: Chinese Yin‐Yang philosophy, Hegel's dialectic, and Niels Bohr's complementarity principle, as well as Aristotle's formal (either/or) logic. I show that the four logical systems have differences and similarities and show that Westerners can and do think dialectically. I also argue that Chinese Yin‐Yang philosophy, while useful and powerful in some situations, is not always superior to the other logical systems and philosophies. My purpose is to alert Chinese management scholars to the dangers of overconfidence and to stimulate discussion and debate on the true value of Yin‐Yang in particular and the promotion of Chinese indigenous management research in general. To that end, I present my opinion on the merits and drawbacks of Yin‐Yang and posit that it may inspire but cannot guide Chinese indigenous management research because Chinese philosophy lacks a well‐defined methodology and operationalizable methods.本文作者认为,那种把东西方思维方式之比较界定为西方非此即彼而东方既此又彼的二分法是具有误导性的,因为西方自古希腊以来一直就存在着辩证思维。作者提出了一个分类法用来比较亚里士多德的形式逻辑与三种辩证逻辑系统或思维方式之异同。这三种辩证逻辑分别是中国阴阳哲学、黑格尔辩证法、和波尔互补原理。作者指出西方人不但能而且也确实在辩证地思考问题。作者同时指出中国阴阳哲学虽然在很多情况下非常有用但它并不总是优于其他逻辑系统和哲学。本文的主旨是要警示中国管理学者过度自信的危险并激发关于阴阳的真实价值以及如何促进中国管理本土研究的大讨论。为此,作者提出了自己关于阴阳的优缺点的见解并指出,由于缺乏一套完善的方法论以及可操作的方法,阴阳虽然可以启发但不能指引中国管理本土研究。

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li X

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Management and Organization Review

Year: 2014

Volume: 10

Issue: 1

Pages: 7-27

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 02/02/2015

Acceptance date: 02/12/2013

ISSN (print): 1740-8776

ISSN (electronic): 1740-8784

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1111/more.12042

Notes: Lead article


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