The Relational Perspective as a Business Mindset: Managerial Implications for East and West

Chen, Ming-Jer; Miller, Danny
August 2011
Academy of Management Perspectives;Aug2011, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p6
Academic Journal
Borrowing from classical Eastern philosophy and Chinese culture, this paper draws lessons in leadership, strategy, and organization for today's managers. It begins by articulating the relational philosophy, in particular the Chinese tradition of thought in which all entities are conceived to exist within the context of one another and in which integration, balance, and harmony are sought over distinction and comparison. It examines how this relational mindset shapes interpersonal relationships, communication, and temporal considerations. Lessons are then drawn for leadership, strategy, and organization for both Eastern and Western businesses. We argue that the shortcomings of many Western companies stem from too little attention to relational considerations, while those of many Eastern companies are caused by excesses and distortions of the relational perspective. The relational approach provides an ideal path toward an "ambicultural" mode of management, one that avoids dangerous extremes, takes the best from both East and West, and is attainable by all organizations.


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