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Transcending Paradox: The Chinese “Middle Way” Perspective


  • Ming-Jer Chen



Western thought is noted for its strengths in categorization and analysis; Eastern, or Chinese thought, is noted for its integrative and encompassing nature. This article seeks to bridge the two. Specifically, it aims to enrich Western thinking and the existing body of paradox literature by proposing the idea of paradoxical integration, a concept derived from the Chinese middle way philosophy. Paradoxical integration, the notion that two opposites (such as “self” and “other”) may be interdependent in nature and together constitute a totality (“integration”), is introduced as one means of transcending paradox and the conventional Western conceptualization of exclusive opposites. It suggests how we can apply the concept of interdependent opposites in a both/and framework to foster reconciliation of the apparent polarities of such dichotomies as competition and cooperation. The article concludes with a discussion of the broad implications of the concept of paradoxical integration upon both academic research and business practice. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Suggested Citation

  • Ming-Jer Chen, 2002. "Transcending Paradox: The Chinese “Middle Way” Perspective," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 179-199, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:asiapa:v:19:y:2002:i:2:p:179-199
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1016235517735

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ming-Jer Chen & Ken G. Smith & Curtis M. Grimm, 1992. "Action Characteristics as Predictors of Competitive Responses," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(3), pages 439-455, March.
    2. Kim S. Cameron, 1986. "Effectiveness as Paradox: Consensus and Conflict in Conceptions of Organizational Effectiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 539-553, May.
    3. Karen L Newman & Stanley D Nollen, 1996. "Culture and Congruence: The Fit Between Management Practices and national Culture," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 27(4), pages 753-779, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Jizhong & Jiang, Fuming & Shen, Jie, 2016. "Institutional distance and the quality of the headquarters–subsidiary relationship: The moderating role of the institutionalization of headquarters’ practices in subsidiaries," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 589-603.
    2. Peter Ping Li & Tomoki Sekiguchi & Kevin Zhou, 2016. "The emerging research on indigenous management in Asia," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 583-594, September.
    3. James Stanworth & Ryan Hsu & Huo-Tsan Chang, 2015. "Interpersonal service quality of the Chinese: determinants and behavioral drivers," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 9(3), pages 515-540, September.
    4. Päivikki Kuoppakangas, 2013. "Adopting the Municipal Enterprise Form in Finland: Core Dilemmas in the Transformation of Public Healthcare Organizations," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 155-165, June.
    5. Hong, Jacky F.L. & Snell, Robin Stanley, 2015. "Knowledge development through co-opetition: A case study of a Japanese foreign subsidiary and its local suppliers," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 769-780.
    6. Yuan, Wenlong & Bao, Yongjian & Olson, Bradley J., 2017. "CEOs’ ambivalent interpretations, organizational market capabilities, and corporate entrepreneurship as responses to strategic issues," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 312-326.
    7. Sven Horak & Markus Taube, 2016. "Same but different? Similarities and fundamental differences of informal social networks in China (guanxi) and Korea (yongo)," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 595-616, September.
    8. Liu, Min-Ling & Liu, Na-Ting & Ding, Cherng G. & Lin, Chieh-Peng, 2015. "Exploring team performance in high-tech industries: Future trends of building up teamwork," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 295-310.
    9. Liu, Chia-Ling (Eunice) & Zhang, Yingying, 2014. "Learning process and capability formation in cross-border buyer–supplier relationships: A qualitative case study of Taiwanese technological firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 718-730.
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    11. Mike W. Peng & Yuan Li & Longwei Tian, 2016. "Tian-ren-he-yi strategy: An Eastern perspective," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 695-722, September.
    12. Wen-Ran Zhang & Karl E. Peace & Hyo-Joo Han, 2016. "YinYang bipolar dynamic organizational modeling for equilibrium-based decision analysis: Logical transformation of an indigenous philosophy to a global science," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 723-766, September.
    13. Wang Z. Min & Kwek C. Ling & Tan H. Piew, 2016. "The Effects of Technological Innovation, Organizational Innovation and Absorptive Capacity on Product Innovation: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach," Asian Social Science, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 12(1), pages 199-222, January.
    14. JOSEP M. COLL, PhD., 2016. "Global Oriental Management: the Resurgence of Asian Leadership and Management Style," Working Papers 2016/4, Maastricht School of Management.

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