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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2016, Vol. 11 Issue (4) : 540-555     https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-005-016-0039-1
Orginal Article |
Rethinking Organizational Change: Implications from the Chinese Shi
YUAN Li()
School of Philosophy, Renmin University, Beijing 100872, China
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Abstract

Much of conventional organizational thinking and practice has been dominated by a belief in stability, with change deemed a disruptive and temporary aberration in the larger scheme of things. This mindset ignores the dynamic, living complexity of organizational life and very likely leads to static management approaches which hinder and sometimes even destroy an organization’s effectiveness by restricting its ability to adapt to turbulent and chaotic events. The Chinese notion of shi is embedded in the ancient Chinese appreciation of reality, which saw change and transformation as an endless flow and an essential feature of the universe; shi is implied by the process of change and can be made to act in one’s favor. As a strategy, shi offers us salutary lessons in modern organizational research and practice: rather than merely trying to control every chain of management and avoid chaos and uncertainty by relying on planning and modeling, organizations should also maintain a tentative and alert sensibility concerning the inherent potential of the changing situation, and should be carried along by it as it evolves.

Keywords change      organizational change      process      shi     
Issue Date: 17 January 2017
 Cite this article:   
YUAN Li. Rethinking Organizational Change: Implications from the Chinese Shi 勢[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(4): 540-555.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/10.3868/s030-005-016-0039-1
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/Y2016/V11/I4/540
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