The Relational Perspective and East Meets West: A Commentary

Gupta, Anil K.
August 2011
Academy of Management Perspectives;Aug2011, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p19
Academic Journal
In their essay on East Meets West, Chen and Miller argue that the relational philosophy rooted in the East and in particular China has much to offer for managers in both the East and the West. They suggest, however, that managers must avoid dangerous extremes and that an "ambicultural" approach that combines elements of Eastern and Western philosophies is likely to be far more effective than either approach in isolation. This commentary challenges some of Chen and Miller's contextual assumptions about the East versus the West. At the same time, it also lends support to their central tenet—that is, the imperative for an ambicultural approach. I do this by providing an in-depth analysis of the two contrasting philosophies (the relational and the transactional perspectives) and note that, while each approach has major advantages, each also suffers from some serious—almost pathological—limitations. Importantly, however, the advantages and limitations of the two approaches complement each other. Thus, an integrated approach has the potential to significantly mitigate the hazards associated with either approach in isolation.


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