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Do Asian Management Paradigms Exist? A look at four theoretical frames. Do Asian Management Paradigms Exist? A look at four theoretical frames.
by Murray Hunter
2012-11-01 10:29:53
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Abstract

Interest in Asian business and management practices developed during the Japanese business emergence in the 1980s. The rise of the Asian tigers in the early 1990s and the emergence of China and India in global business affairs during the last decade have kept up the momentum of interest. This paper contemplates the question as to whether specific Asian paradigms of business and management actually exist. The author takes a look at Confucianism, Sun Tzu’s military strategies, Buddhism, and Islam as possible paradigms. However upon a superficial look at these paradigms, there appears more influence on Western management thought than Asian management thinking, excepting Confucianism.  

Keywords: Asian Management, Management theory, Sun Tzu, Confucius, Buddhism, Islam.  

Introduction

Asian business and management has been of great interest to many ever since the rise of Japan Inc. during the 1980s. The ‘sudden’[1] Japanese success in the US and European markets was explained by numerous authors as well thought out marketing strategies[2], a strategic mindset[3], Superior productivity[4], organizational culture[5], specific cultural practices and a shared commitment[6], a special nexus between government, business, and the banking system[7], and innovation[8]. The rise of the Asian tigers in East and Southeast Asia added to the mystic of Asian management. This lead to a further round of authors espousing reasons for success including work ethics, culture, low cost base, rising levels of innovation, government sponsored capitalism, the role of the overseas Chinese[9], quanxi[10], growing domestic markets, and well thought out strategies[11]. Interest in Asian business and management declined with the Japanese bubble bursting and the Asian financial crisis of 1997. This occurred at a time when there was a small re-emergence of US industry where the Asian myth was broken and it was back to business as usual[12].

US industry became equipped with new paradigms that would solve all their competitive problems packed up in new management philosophies that would bring a new arrogance in executive management, who thought they were envisioned for the future. Tools and slogans like the ‘Value Chain’, ‘Strategic alliances’, ‘Strategic innovation’, ‘Lean Manufacturing’, ‘Business Process Re-engineering’, ‘Balanced Score Card’, ‘Benchmarking’, ‘TQM’, ‘branded derivatives’,Quality Management Systems’, ‘Zero defects’, ‘Performance Measurement’, ’Excellence Model’, and ‘Six Sigma’ instilled new found confidence. Many of these ideas became a ‘quick fix’, with a rapidly growing consulting industry. However most of these ideas were misinterpreted, as for example, managers saw lean production as a means to cut back on staff and declare themselves a lean organisation.

 However the first decade of this Millennium saw China and India begin to emerge as serious global contenders. Interest again returned to Asia with a flood of books published about the success of the new rising giants. Literary focus today is upon the nouveau entrepreneurs of the region, who they are, how they organize themselves and became successful[13]. Most literature about Asian management has been positivist and instrumentalist rather than reflective. This can be seen with title phrases like ‘how’, ‘new competition’, ‘success’, and ‘challenge’, etc. Culture and philosophy has been superficially mentioned and there are indeed a multitude of books about ‘Confucius’[14], ‘Sun Tzu’[15], ‘Buddhist management[16]’, and ‘Islamic business[17]’.

After reading so much about Asian management there are still questions to be answered. Is there a distinctively Asian type of management based upon traditional philosophy?  Is the focus on these ancient philosophies and religion really relevant to Asian today? This paper has selected four philosophies, first briefly explaining them, and then giving consideration to the relevance within contemporary Asian society. The paper will conclude postulating what types of paradigms and frames may enhance our understanding of Asian business in the future and what similarities they may have to current occidental paradigms.

The Confucian Paradigm

Confucius was born with the name K’ung Ch’iu in the Lũ Kingdom of China in 551 BC, and was in later life called K’ung Fu-Tzu (Master Kung) by his followers. He is probably the most famous Chinese moralist, intellectual, philosopher and educationalist known outside China and his teachings have had great influence on China’s social and political thought over the last 2500 years, as well as spreading to East and South-East Asia[18]. Confucius developed a system that saw man as a social being, interconnected to society through a system of moral and social ethics, concerned with perfecting human character to create a virtuous social order.

While the traditions of Confucianism have historical and regional variations, there are certain central ideas and values which are common. These values have constituted the key elements of the traditions of societies which have endured history and political upheavals. The basic Confucian concepts embrace a dynamic cosmological worldview for promoting harmony amidst change, where individuals exist in concentric circles of relationships with ethical responsibilities that place importance on the family, within a hierarchical social system, where loyalty to elders is paramount and a generational concept of gratitude and respect for earlier ancestors exists. Education is the mechanism where individuals are cultured and developed as a means to enrich society and create a social and political order. History is valued as continuality and a basis for moral reflection and learning.

The worldview purported by Confucius is characterized by four key elements;

  1. An anthrop cosmic perspective of the great triad of heaven (a guiding force), earth and humans,
  2. An organic holism where the universe is seen as unified, interconnected and interpenetrating, where everything interacts and affects everything else,
  3. A dynamic vitalism of underlying units of reality which is constituted of the material energy force of the universe (chi), the natural force of the universe, which creates reciprocity between man and nature and is the substance of life responsible for continuing process of change in the universe, and
  4. Ethics embracing man and nature.

Within this context, Confucian thought sees the person in relation to others and not as an isolated individual. Thus, in Confucian society, the common good is more important than individual good. In this view, self interest and altruism for a common cause is not always mutually exclusive.

Confucius was more concerned about the process of human development, rather than theological concepts and ends[19]. He believed the principles of relationships could be extended from that of running a family to the governing of a kingdom or nation; “Those who want to be a leader or ruler have to have their own house in order”[20]. Through education and rituals which signified respect, man would develop five inner virtues; integrity, righteousness, loyalty, reciprocity and human-heartedness, which once developed would radiate externally from the individual, so that society could be governed by man, rather than rules of law. To this end, Confucius defines five primary relationships that will achieve this; ruler and subject, parent and child, elder and younger brother, husband and wife, and friend and friend. As a child develops and learns, he or she will first learn to love and respect the parents, then brothers and sisters, then relatives, and later all of humanity. This piety is called Hsiao, which is considered the root of all humanity.

This philosophy was able to change the family in agrarian China from a unit of production to a collective moral dimension, with a social code for each rank of the family hierarchy, very different from the Western concept of individualism[21]. This led to the concept of guanxi, much written about in Western literature, “a focus on relationships with a shared history, respect for the past, a value that many – not all – Chinese cherish”[22].

Two other concepts in Confucianism are Tao, the way of life and Te, potency and self-sacrificial generosity with humility, with the moral power of attraction and transformation, associated with these qualities. The humanistic attribute required to achieve the above is through Ren, which means love, kindness and goodness, qualities of the perfect individual. This is the essence of what makes humans different from other members of the animal kingdom. Failure to develop Ren would lead an individual to quickly develop foregone conclusions, dogmatism, obstinacy and egotism, which would block wisdom and prevent people from making new insights and discoveries, as one’s mind must remain open to become wiser. Li is the expression of Ren in a social context through norms, rites and rituals governing ceremonies according to one’s social position. Through Li, the individual expresses his respect and reverence for others[23].

Another important aspect of Confucian thought mentioned above is Yi or righteousness. This is where self interest is subservient to organizational interest. Yi is practiced through cultivating ritual and etiquette and eventually becomes second nature. Zhi or wisdom is the ability to apply the above virtues into life situations which implies an understanding of the Confucian worldview above. Zhi is therefore much more than knowledge. Finally one must possess Xin or trustworthiness to safeguard the mission of the organization. Romar suggested that Confucian ethics are very similar to the ideas developed by Peter Drucker[24].

Confucius was not influential in government during his time, serving only in minor positions, and wondering around China giving advice to those few that listened. However, he attracted a number of followers, who later held office in government, advised by Confucius on matters of ethics and piety. However he became quickly disillusioned as they didn’t take his counsel. Confucius spent most of his last years working on his classics. 

After his death, Confucianism had to contend with other philosophies of Taoism and Buddhism during the 3rd to 7th Centuries, creating a blend of philosophies creating Neo-Confucianism, dominating philosophical thought in China during the Tsang Dynasty (618-906 AD), the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD) and later during the Ming Dynasty (1472-1529 AD). Confucian institutions in China slowly disintegrated after the overthrow of the Last Emperor in 1911, although it survived in practice in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and parts of South-East Asia after that time.

Confucianism has been examined and debated about its significance to Asian Economic development by Western scholars, over the last few decades. Confucianism is often misunderstood, as to its real interpretations. Most have believed that Confucianism is completely worldly and humanistic, lacking any divinity. However Confucius last book The Annals of Spring and Autumn (chũnqĭu) is full of references to the divinity of heaven and its influence upon man and reason for existence. Some scholars have criticized Confucian works as being nothing more than a reaffirmation of earlier thoughts, with no originality[25], although Confucius himself stated the need to look back to learn history as examples of models and acts of piety. Many misunderstand the concept of holism, not necessarily meaning holism of society, but holism of the worldview from a family perspective[26].

During the 1980’s and 1990’s many academics became interested in the connections between Confucianism and the spectacular rise of the Asian Tigers. Some argued that Confucius was opposed to modernization as it didn’t advocate individualism, common to the Western characteristics of entrepreneurship, was too dependent on guidance, emphasized an all round development of personality to harmonise with the environment, which discouraged aggressiveness and encouraged traditionalism, rather than modernisation[27]. However Tu suggested that individualism is a Western mode of capitalism and East Asian had developed another model based on relationships to develop change through consensus and networks, with a sense of personal discipline[28]. Confucianism was criticized for lack of profit motive, as his philosophies discouraged self-motivation and that merchants were not included in Confucius set of key relationships. However, through responsibility and obligation to family, other motives exist, such as their well-being[29], and treatment of those inside and outside an individual’s universe of relationships will be different, i.e., outsiders treated with respect but caution, more adversarial, rather than brotherly relationship. Confucianism is also criticized for its lack of innovation, whereas the reality of Chinese business has been to seek ways to control an existing market, rather than create new value through innovation[30].

The tremendous economic growth in Asia after the Second World War was labelled as ‘Confucian capitalism”[31]. Hofstede postulated that culture is a prime determinant of performance and Confucianism dictates hierarchical organizational structure, preserving values, and thrift, which were all seen as organizational drivers of economic growth[32]. One of the side effects of Confucianism is nepotism and thus the creation of lack of transparency, corruption, and inefficiency[33]. Some scholars labelled this as one of the prime reasons of the 1997 Asian financial crisis[34][35].

Perhaps one area where Confucian concepts can be superficially seen is in the Chinese family business around Southeast Asia. Chinese family businesses are usually run by a patriarchal leader who installs direction and morals through the exercise of Confucian virtues[36]. However this often degenerates into crude authoritarianism[37]. The hierarchy usually follows a kinship structure where one’s position depends upon relationship with the leader, rather than on any professional merit. Subordinates know their roles and operate within a certain degree of autonomy, although most organizational knowledge is monopolized by the leader and shared at his discretion[38]. Personal relationships are thus very much part of the decision making process and organizational performance is very subjective. Performance of these enterprises is often sub-optimal because of the nepotistic nature of organizations. In addition, one of the major objectives is to maintain harmony and avoid conflict within the organization as a means to maintain stability.

Human relationships are built upon trust based on the principles of personalization and quanxi[39]. This was necessary in developing Southeast Asia when legal codes and contractual enforcement were still in their infancy. The effect of these arrangements was to slow down the state of progress and limit the incorporation of newcomers to an industry. This also restricted the input of new ideas and technology into firms within the region. The overview of a traditional Chinese family enterprise is depicted in figure 1.

hunter01_400_04

Figure 1. The Traditional Chinese family Business

In theory the centralization of decision making increases the ability to make quick decisions and adapt to a changing environment. However leadership in these organizations seem to take on a conservative disposition and be averse to change. Firm flexibility and technology sophistication almost wholly depends upon the competencies of the patriarchal leader.  

To the contrary, it can also be argued that Confucianism actually has little influence on the way Chinese business is operated, at least in South-East Asian countries like Malaysia. Although Chinese business sustains and nurtures family members and maintains a paternalistic and hierarchical nature of authority within the enterprise[40], there is little evidence that Malaysian Chinese businesses rely on guanxi networks for growth and development[41], have little interest in long term sustainability and little adherence to the Chinese philosophies associated with Confucianism[42].  It is also unlikely that many contemporary Chinese have a thorough understanding of the Confucius philosophy or the will or want to fulfil the piety and wisdom defined by Confucius in everyday life. One of Confucius followers Mèngzî  warned, Ren is a concept not easily achieved by man. However modern life and business may tend to be judged by old values, creating a complexity of behaviour that is often hard to understand[43], especially by the older generation that is Chinese educated. With the new generation returning to their family businesses after overseas study there is great pressure for patriarchal leaders to step aside and/or allow the introduction of ‘more professional’ management. Perhaps the greatest influence of Confucianism is in the governance of the State of Singapore, rather than in business[44].

Finally, John Naisbitt in his prophecy book Megatrends Asia predicted that the unique strengths of Chinese business networks, able to make speedy decisions and able to obtain resources through connecting people would make the Chinese business model the ideal flexible form of social organization for the globally connected world of the future[45]. However this would assume that harmony doesn’t exhibit restriction on individuals from criticism of strategy, even though it may be constructive, as the practice of authority in Chinese companies means obedience rather than careful questioning of the status quo[46].

The War (Sun Tzu) Paradigm

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War was written 2,500 years ago and was most probably the first comprehensive book of military strategy ever written[47]. Sun Tzu saw strategy as a tool in warfare, primarily out of sight of the enemy, aimed at gaining advantage and defeating an adversary by fighting as few battles as possible[48]. Sun Tzu postulated achieving victory by out-thinking and out-fighting the enemy with the best tools at one’s disposal. The thirteen chapters of the book lay out an ideology of strategy as follows;

Chapter One: The proper planning of strategy.                                                                                                         Chapter Two: How to avoid protracted campaigns.       
Chapter Three: How to defeat the enemy without going to battle.
Chapter Four: Find the enemies weaknesses.
Chapter Five: How to exploit opportunities.
Chapter Six: How events and strategy are unpredictable.                                                                                            Chapter Seven: Relief of the enemy’s vigilance.
Chapter Eight: The adaptation of strategy.
Chapter Nine: Exploring the enemy’s position.
Chapter Ten: The diligence of a commander.                                                                                                             Chapter Eleven: The obedience and submission of subordinates.
Chapter Twelve: Diligence and caution when undertaking tasks.
Chapter Thirteen: The use of intelligence.      

Within the above chapters are six basic applications of the principles outlined in each chapter of the book. These include;

Winning whole or succeeding with all one’s resources and objectives intact.
Leading to advantage or how to prepare and position soldiers for victory.
Deception or keeping one’s intentions secret from opponents and enemies.
Energy or applying force effectively and efficiently.
Capabilities or finding the best path to achieve an objective, and 
Initiative or how to take advantage and capitalize upon an emerging opportunity in a conflict.            

Perhaps the most important aspect of Sun Tzu’s doctrines is wisdom. In ancient Chinese the character for wisdom was similar to the character for knowledge, thus wisdom and knowledge are interwoven. Sun Tzu believed that wisdom was an innate quality of a general and is made up of four qualities, the ability to plan, perceptibility, predictability, and adaptability. Therefore in planning a good general must know what the fight is for and how to place his troops and weapons in the right place at the right time. Potential problems must be foreseen, so that solutions are available when and if they are encountered. In addition a general must be free of emotion so that decisions can be made without undue influence and consistently. Finally the general must be able to adapt to unexpected changing circumstances that may arise in the course of the campaign.   

In chapter five of The Art of War, military tactics are equated with the flow of water. “As flowing water runs away from high places and speeds downward, an army avoids strengths and seeks weaknesses. As water shapes its course according to the ground, an army works out its victory in relation to the enemy it faces. Therefore, as water retains no constant shape, there are no fixed conclusions in warfare. He can modify his tactics according to the enemy’s situation and thereby succeed in winning, may he be called divine”[49].                                            

Military strategy has influenced business strategy as it has a similar objective of achieving a desired result and winning. Some of the important principals of Sun Tzu’s strategies that can be seen as relevant to business are summarised below:

  • Business is extremely important to the owner so thorough planning is necessary
  • Avoid if possible direct competition against competitors (i.e., find a market where there is no competition).
  • Emulate as much as possible the strengths of your competitors and build your strengths where your competitors are weak.
  • Ensure you have a planned exit strategy if necessary.
  • Know your competitors well, you will have a better chance of success
  • Good leadership is a powerful motivator of followers (wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, strictness).
  • Show by example.
  • Develop shared values in your organisation to gain commitment.
  • Develop competitive advantage and make full use of it in the marketplace.
  • A powerful and efficient leader is indispensable to the success of the firm.
  • Have a good technical background.
  • To be competitive, a company must be able to capitalise on various changes in the economy, business and social environments and develop strategies accordingly.
  • Must realistically understand what is in and outside of your control.
  • Position yourself close to the resources you need and markets.
  • Strength is a relative concept, no absolute superior or inferior strength, it is how you arrange your resources that can bring success.
  • Hide your strengths and weaknesses from your competitors so you have the element of surprise in the marketplace.
  • Seek out as much information about your competitors, markets and customers as possible.
  • Delegate subordinates with enough authority to get the job done.
  • Training is an important method of achieving efficiency.
  • A combination of benevolence and strictness is the key to guaranteeing loyalty of your staff, and,
  • Be transparent in your reward systems so employees know what they will receive.

An element that is beginning to be regarded as an important trait in entrepreneurship is courage[50]. Sun Tzu mentioned courage in chapter eight describing a general as a person who must be brave and courageous in battle, and his troops if cowardly will face capture by the enemy. In addition a general must be prepared to be bold and take calculated risks when necessary in order to seize opportunities without hesitation. Courage should also be attached to resourcefulness and decisiveness. Courage runs in two directions. If a situation becomes hopeless, a general must recognize this and immediately make a retreat. The courage to move forward blindly, i.e., making decisions based upon courage alone, is not genuine courage but a delusion, something equated to what we recognize as an overconfidence bias[51].

Many authors writing about Asian business attribute Chinese business success to the following of the doctrines of Sun Tzu[52]. This may have some positive bearing in the business strategies of some businesses, which are quoted as examples in books[53], and Sun Tzu’s philosophies have certainly influenced writers[54]. But as other authors have commented in the Asian SME context, most businesses start out finding the correct business strategies by nothing more than trial and error until they find the winning set of strategies for their businesses[55]. Very few business entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia until recently have been educated past secondary school and although Sun Tzu is known to Western business scholars, it is highly doubtful whether many are familiar with his works on strategy. However there is some evidence that the educated Chinese public service over the centuries did use these texts in forming the strategies of Chinese state[56]. It appears that the doctrines of Sun Tzu were studied by Western military scholars[57] and the early business schools took some interest in The Art of War in the 1950s and 60s when the concepts of business and corporate strategy was being pioneered. Strategy as a war paradigm became very popular in the United States with a number of ‘bestsellers’ like Barrie James ‘Business War Games’, and Al Ries and Jack Trout’s ‘Marketing Warfare’[58] in the 1980s and has become part of contemporary marketing terminology[59].

Yet it is claimed that Sun Tzu’s doctrine influenced Admiral Yamamoto in planning the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Mao Tse-Tung’s philosophies, the Vietnamese General Vö Nguyên Giáp’s strategies that led to victories over the French and American forces in Vietnam, Che Gueverra’s revolutionary and guerrilla tactics in South America, and the Gulf war campaigns and resulting insurgencies[60]. In addition Sun Tzu has become part of popular culture influencing films like the Star Wars Trilogy, Wall Street, The Sopranos (HBO), The Art of War, and Die Another Day. The influence of Sun Tzu on Asian business has probably been through these western influences, rather than direct knowledge and education in the region itself.

The Buddhist Paradigm

Buddhist Dharma originated on the Indian Sub-continent with the birth of Siddhartha Gautama back in the 6th century BCE. Buddhism spread through South Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia, taking on many forms and variations, which include the Theravãda, Mahãyãna, and Vajrayãna traditions.  Today Buddhism directly influences about 10% of the world’s population, although some practice a mix of Buddhism, and Taoism, that may even take on some Hindu influences.

Within the Abhidhamma Pitaka, the last of three parts to the Pali Cannon (the scriptures of Theravãda Buddhism) are a number of texts concerning psychology, philosophy and metaphysics. The Abhidhamma Pitaka describes the structure of the human mind and perception with amazing accuracy to the accepted views of modern neuro-science. The mind is described as a continual conscious process or experience in the metaphor of a ‘mindstream’ (something similar to phenomenological psychology)[61].

Within Buddhist philosophy, consciousness and metaphysics are combined in the concept of Pratîtyasamutpada or dependent origination. This is where reality is seen as an interdependent timeless universe of interrelated cause and effect. A human’s existence is interwoven with the existence of everything else and the existence of everything else is interwoven with the human’s existence in a mutually interdependent way. Because this concept is past, present and future, everything in the universe is only transient and has no real individual existence.

A person’s perception continually ebbs and flows on a daily basis with changes in intelligence, knowledge and understanding, based on the type of emotions one feels and their individual strength, pull and intensity. This process makes a person happy, sad, excited, hesitant or anxious about people, things and events around them. One may feel angry, greedy, jealous, trusting, lustful, and confused all in one day. More often than not, we are not aware of the influence of our feelings upon how we perceive things and behave, as this process is partly sub-conscious[62]. Feeling is what drives a person, whether it is to seek shelter and food, clothing and medical care, love and sex, career and comfort, etc. This is a very important concept because it is only our ability to free ourselves from attachment and delusion about our sense of self and values unconsciously placed on others, will we be able to see the world as it really is, rather than what we wish it to be. In fact our view of self and existence is created through our clinging and craving which blinds us to the reality of dependent origination[63]. The wheel of Samsara, or suffering through life is the heart of the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, that there is suffering. Although the wheel of Samsara may appear esoteric, the messages are straight forward without the divinity of mystic gods. This is the concept of Samsara was adopted into Buddhism with the metaphors of gods, afterlife, and rebirth, widely accepted during those times. Much of this mysticism has been added to Buddhism through the influence of various cultures and institutionalization over time[64].

Buddhism is about transcending delusions and the patterns and pathways we are locked into, so human perception is clear and unbiased. This makes Buddhism an ethical philosophy of life, rather than a religion in strict terms[65]. According to Buddhist Dharma (theology), desire is a major part of our motivation and psych. Buddhism sees mankind living in a deluded reality caused by infatuation, attachment[66] and clinging to desire for objects and permanence in the world as the source of all suffering. The pathway to wisdom[67] is found through understanding ‘The Four Noble Truths’ which are;

1. Our delusions of self cause our suffering,
2. Suffering is a fact of life resulting from our attachment to what we desire,
3. If we extinguish our attachment, we reduce our suffering, and
4. By following the ‘Eightfold Path’ and developing wisdom, we can alleviate our suffering.

The first Noble Truth is about our habitual relationship and attachment to anguish and craving, and how we relate to the events within our life. Do we embrace our emotions and mistake them for reality? Do we realize the consequences of our actions? The third Noble truth is the ability to let go of our attachment allows us to see other realities, not based on the bias of the ego-centric ‘I’ or ‘me”. If we can achieve this freedom from our emotions, we can make decisions without just guessing about the potential consequences of our actions – a true wisdom.

‘The Four Noble Truths’ can be seen as challenges to act rather than beliefs. Action as the fourth Nobel Truth espouses the practice of the ‘Eightfold Path’, which is a practical set of methods to let go of our attachment. The ‘Eightfold Path’ consists of right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, mindfulness and right concentration. Practice of the Eightfold Path may assist in raising consciousness to a completely non-dualistic view of subject and object. There is actually nothing spiritual or religious about the ‘The Four Noble Truths’ or ‘Eightfold Path’. The ‘Eightfold Path’ is about everything we do, a mode for being in this world. Such practice underpins the visions and ideas we develop. A depiction of the “Eightfold Path’ is shown in figure 3.

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Figure 3. A Depiction of the “Eightfold Path’

A brief description of each stage of the ‘Eightfold Path’ is below;

Right view is both the beginning and end of the path. Right view is about understanding the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and seeing true realities without the delusion of craving and attachment. With the Right view the see the imperfectness of our nature and that around us. We understand the Law of Karma[68] and dependent origination. Right view is the cognitive aspect of our wisdom or knowing, as our view of the world forms all intentions, thoughts and actions. It is an intuitive insight that all beings endure suffering and this can end with and understanding of the true nature of all things. Right view precipitates right thoughts and right actions.

Right intention is our mental energy that controls our actions – the ethical part of wisdom. Right intention is commitment to self development based upon our personal ethics. Without right intention our ethics are covered up by our emotions which overshadow our mental energy with emotional energy. Right intention involves resistance to desire, anger, aversion, cruelty to others, or aggression. Therefore right intention is the source of our compassion.

Right speech is the first part of our ethical conduct within the ‘Eightfold Path’. Speech is considered very powerful and be as potent as action, therefore it is important to abstain from false speech, deceitfulness, slanderous speech, maliciousness, offensive or hurtful language to others, and idle chatter that lacks purpose. Right speech encourages a positive frame of telling the truth, speaking friendly, warm and gently, and only talking when necessary.

The second part of ethical conduct is Right action. Right action involves the body as a means of expression, and deeds that involve bodily actions. Poor action leads to ethical degeneration, while wholesome actions reinforce our sense of ethics. Right action is restraining oneself from harming other beings, especially the taking of life, taking what is not given, dishonesty, and sexual misconduct. In the positive frame Right action is about acting kindly to others, being compassionate, honest, respecting the belongings of others, and keeping sexual relationships harmless to others.

The third aspect of ethical conduct is Right livelihood. Right livelihood is about earning a living in a righteous way, where wealth is gained ethically, legally and peacefully. Dealing in weapons, dealing in living beings, i.e., raising animals for slaughter, the slave trade and prostitution, working in meat production and butchery, and selling intoxicants and poisons, as well as anything that violates Right speech and Right action should be avoided.   

Right effort is the first aspect of mental development. This is a prerequisite for all the other elements along the path. Effort is an act of will which without, nothing can be achieved. Misguided effort leads one into delusion and negative Karma and confusion. Right effort depends upon our mental energy which can be positive producing self discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness, or negative producing desire, envy, aggression, and even violence. Right effort is necessary to prevent unwholesome occurrences, abandon unwholesome states that have already occurred, to arouse wholesome states that have not yet occurred, and maintain continuing wholesome states.

Right mindfulness is the preferred state of cognition. This is awareness that brings the ability to see things for what they really are – a high level of consciousness. Right mindfulness is both part of our perceptions and thoughts, to see beyond our stereotyped impressions and existing biases and patterning[69]. Through mindfulness one can control the way thoughts go and maintain wholesomeness. Four bases of mindfulness exist; contemplation of body, contemplation of feelings, contemplation of state of mind, and contemplation of phenomena.

The final principle of the ‘Eightfold Path’ is Right concentration. Right concentration refers to the development of focus in our consciousness. This can be enhanced through the practice of meditation.

In addition to the above Buddhist paradigm, other aspects of Dharma can also be developed into additional frames. These may include the concept of dependent origination which has influenced quantum and systems thinking, interpreting Samsara as organizational typologies in organizational development, and utilizing the concept of Karma in ethics and strategy.

There is very little evidence of direct influence of Buddhist Dharma upon business in Asia. Many studies mix Buddhist and Confucian philosophies which although bear some similarities, are also contrastingly different[70]. Although some cases are reported[71], the Buddhist business is more myth than reality. This is partly because there is very little consensus about what a Buddhist venture would actually be like (the author’s interpretation is only one possible interpretation). The only visible evidence is the belief and practice of a degenerated form of corrupted Buddhism, mixed with superstitious rituals, artefacts, ceremonies, giving donations to the temple for positive Karma, and praying to Bodhisatvta for wealth and prosperity. 

However, Buddhist Dharma has influenced Western psychology significantly. The teachings of the Abhidhamma Pitaka have inspired and influenced many psychoanalysts and psychologists[72], including Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, Albert Ellis, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Marsha M. Linehan. There has been a great leap forward in humanitarian and transpersonal philosophical influence in therapy[73]. Dialogue between philosophy theorists and practitioners of East and West has led to mutually influential relationships between them[74]. This has led to new insights into therapies and new schools of thought on both sides[75]. Many of these practices are being used in modified forms for therapy today[76]. Aspects of Buddhist Dharma are also incorporated in the works of Western philosophers including Caroline A. F. Rhys David and Alan Watts.

Applying Buddhist philosophy to organization and management in “Western society” is also not new. Writers have focused upon the quantum analogies of Buddhism[77], ethics[78], and humanist views[79]. The wheel of Samsara provides insight that emotions play a major role in all organizations[80], where occidental organization theories have tended to ignore the role of emotion in organizations until quite recently[81].

The concepts of dependent origination through systems theory and a reframed ‘Eightfold Path’ is similar to many of the concepts within the learning organization. Peter Senge is the Director for Organizational Learning at the Sloan Business School at MIT in Boston. He was one of the high profile academics during the 1990’s and propelled the concept of Learning Organisation into the management vocabulary. Senge defines the learning organisation “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together”[82]. Such organizations according to Senge will be able to face the rapidly changing environment with flexibility and adaptation, driven by peoples’ willingness and capacity to learn at all levels. However current organization structures and form are not conducive to learning and people although having great capacity to learn, do not have the tools needed[83].

Senge believes that people want to be part of something bigger than themselves to grow and this is where they have opportunities to ‘re-create’ themselves. The prevailing method of learning in organizations is adaptive learning focused on survival, but for a learning organization there must also be generative learning, organizational learning disabilities can be overcome. Generative learning requires a mastering of five disciplines;

·         Systems thinking; seeing the world and events as a whole, where forces behind them are related. This helps us to see relationships and helps us to see how to change things effectively with minimum effort, i.e., to find leverage points in the system. This has a lot of similarities with the concepts of dependent origination.

·         Personal mastery; the process of continually deepening and enriching our personal visions, the focusing of energies, developing patience and seeing reality objectively. Personal mastery could be considered a product of the ‘Eightfold Path’.

·         Mental models; are unconscious metaphors of how we see things, which influence how we act. If we can understand how we see things, we are in a better position to see reality more objectively. Mental models are about wisdom and right mindfulness.

·         Building shared vision; to develop a shared picture which will create commitment, rather than just compliance by individuals. Building shared vision is about right intention, right action, right effort, and right concentration, and

·         Team learning; is the ability of the group to rid themselves of their assumptions and begin to think together. This must be done openly without anyone trying to win. Team learning is about the journey that the ‘Eightfold path’ takes a community.

These disciplines can be focused towards seeing wholes, rather than parts, seeing people as active participants, rather than helpless reactors and to creating the future, rather than reacting to the past.

Senge and his team spent many years developing this process. However companies found it extremely difficult to implement as managers were unwilling to give up power, management didn’t give enough flexibility and authority to staff, individuals weary about taking on the responsibility, managers and employees just simply didn’t have the skills and the process was undermined by organizational politics, something which is not directly tackled in Senge’s process. Learning organizations are fundamentally different from authoritarian organizations and it was beyond management to let go and make these radical changes. Learning organization is not a quick fix as many had assumed, but a daunting task requiring exploration of individual performance, personality and ambitions in life, something beyond many peoples’ willingness to make commitment. There are few organizations that resemble Senge’s model and while business wants to develop long term growth and stability, their focus is on enhancing brand recognition and status[84], intellectual capital and knowledge and product development and ensuring production and distribution efficiency[85], and solid financial returns[86]. There have been many suggestions that Senge’s model is just too idealistic and perhaps ahead of its time because of its revolutionary approach[87] and that it will take people to really make a commitment to organizational life in new ways. In 1994, Senge with his colleagues published the fieldbook[88] providing more ideas and suggestions about how to develop the process of learning organization.

The Islamic Paradigm

World events and media portrayal of Islam over the last few decades has projected negative images, which are based on a total misunderstanding of Islam and the principles it encompasses[89]. Predominantly, Islam through many eyes is seen as a homogenous view of the world, where many elements of the media have stereotyped[90] it as an extreme religion. This situation has not been assisted by the lack of published academic and intellectual thought[91], which could assist in developing more balanced views about what the principals of Islam stand for. The focus of most published works on Islamic economics and business has been in the domains of finance and morals[92], which leads most to the conclusion that Islam has little to contribute in the theories of economics and business.

The first and most comprehensive model of Islamic economy in modern times was published by Dr. M. Umer Chapra in the early 1990’s. His hypothesis was that existing economic models of capitalism, Marxism, socialism and the welfare state have failed to provide full employment, remove poverty, fulfill needs and minimize inequalities of income distribution. Both the market and centrally planned models have been weak in providing overall wellbeing, where problems of family disintegration, conflict and tensions, crime, alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness have indicated a lack of happiness and contentment in the life of individuals. Dr. Chapra stated that a new system needs to be considered which could optimize human wellbeing and presented an Islamic model of economy, which never been tried or implemented in any world economy and has potential to solve common economic problems due to the overall humanitarian goal of achieving the wellbeing of all members of society[93]. 

The message of Islam forms its basis from the Al-Qur’an, which is the direct word of Allah (S.W.T.). The Hadĭths are documents made up of lessons taken from the life of the Messenger Muhammad (S.A.W.), written down by a number of apostles, which put the knowledge from the Al-Qur’an in both context in which they were revealed and assist in developing a general and universal significance[94]. Without the Hadĭths many important aspects of Islam would not be known today and the Al-Qur’an would be at the mercy of those who misinterpret it[95].

To date “The fanaticism and prejudice for Western managerial systems have also, among other things, veiled the relevancy of Islam as a model of management, as well as generating a cynical reaction that the Islamic model existed in history and concept only, but never practiced in modern life, even by countries with a Muslim Majority[96]. Islamic scholars argue three main reasons for the need to develop and implement an Islamic business framework;

  1. The nature of man: Man has both the potential to rise to great spiritual heights and also disintegrate into total immorality. Man’s ability to act rightly or wrongly is a matter of moral choice. Under the Islamic viewpoint, man’s purpose on earth to carry out ibadah (relates man to Allah {S.W.T} through spiritual acts)[97] and follow God’s will with total devotion, according to his natural disposition (fitrah); where everything fits into the divine pattern under the laws of Allah (S.W.T)[98]. Submission to the laws of Allah (S.W.T) brings harmony to man, however man was created with many weaknesses[99], forgetfulness[100], greed for material comforts and power[101], is capable of oppressiveness and ignorance[102], is rash and impatient[103], stringy and miserably[104], ungrateful[105], quarrelsome[106], ruthless[107], and full of self interest[108], which can easily lead him astray.
  2. The amoral society: General society has become amoral and lapsed in faith, believing that truth and reality is based on what can be touched, smelled, seen, heard and tasted. This has lead to a society that has become materialistic and less spiritual. This absence of spirituality is leading business into immoral activities such as stealing, lying, fraud and deceit, making people believe that they cannot succeed without pursuing the same practices[109].
  3. The underdevelopment of Islamic societies: Approximately 80% of the World’s Muslins live in poverty, as cultural minorities in other countries, with high incidences of unemployment and low productivity[110]. Countries with majority Muslin populations, are declining in their knowledge generation, research, innovation and educational standards[111], have a generally a lower life expectancy, higher illiteracy rates, lower GDP per capita rates with the majority of people living in fragile and non-arable lands, poorer infrastructure and water supplies and a larger number of dependents than the non-Islamic World[112]. Islamic GDP as a percentage of total World GDP is estimated to be only 45% of what it should be, in order to be on par with the rest of the world[113].

The basic Islamic principles and their interrelationships are shown in figure 3 below.

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Figure 3: An Islamic Business Framework

The Al-Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who was born into a trading family and brought up by Abu Talib, who was a trader. Society in the Prophet’s time was almost totally dependent on trade as a means to earn a living and unlike any other religion, the Al-Qur’an is heavily written in the metaphor of business and trade. Within many parts of the Al-Qur’an life is paralleled to a business venture, where one earns profits to gain entry into heaven – profits meaning faith and good deeds to others and those that accept Allah’s (SWT) guidance as a bargain to save them from punishment on judgment day[114]. Islam urges individuals to strive their utmost to earn large monetary rewards and spiritual profits, while at the same time being inspired to be successful and honest people[115]. This is part of the concept of ad-din, which makes material and spiritual pursuits inseparable, where one’s whole life is concerned with the needs of humankind here on earth to secure a comfortable life in the Hereafter[116]. Consequently, Islam does not prohibit worldly success[117], in fact Allah (SWT) has provided opportunities for humankind to obtain success and it is certainly the responsibility of the individual to do so[118]. However involvement in business should also carry with it benevolent intentions for others while seeking success for oneself[119].

Islam espouses a market economy with freedom of the individual to operate a business with minimal outside interference;

“He who brings goods to the market is blessed with bounty, he who withholds them is cursed.”(Ibn Majah & Al Hakim)

A market mechanism is urged with free flowing knowledge without exploitation by middlemen;

“Do not chase after those who are going to the market before they reach the place.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Islam also prohibits price manipulation;

“Anyone who withholds goods until the price rises is a sinner.” (Muslim).

Thus Islam espouses that free trade is a major factor in the enhancement of living standards of the general community, subject to some constraints on business in the interests of the wider community.

Central to Islam is Tawhid “…a man’s commitment to Allah, the focus of all his reverence and gratitude, the only source of value. What Allah desires for man becomes value for him, the end of all human endeavour[120].” Tawhid is the Islamic way of life, the fundamental of all Islamic civilization, which is process, means and end together. Tawhid is both the essence of the individual and the society he or she lives in. Tawhid is acceptance of one creator and His divine guidance of humanity[121]. Tawhid implies both the mission and morality of humankind in both social and spiritual contexts.

Mankind’s responsibilities under Tawhid fall into two categories, fard’ain which is an individual’s obligation to perform his or her religious duties and fard kifayah, which is an obligation for man to serve the entire community, through services to each other, necessary for the community to live safely and comfortably. Thus the obligation to improve the Muslim Ummah (community) falls under fard kifayah[122], where undertaking business is the principal method[123] of improving the economy and community;

“Be involved in business as nine out of ten sources of income lie in business” (Ihya)

The building blocks of Tawhid are the concepts of al-iman (belief), al-ilm (knowledge) and al-amal (pious acts and efforts). Al-iman is the belief in the existence of one God and Creator, with a commitment to His teachings and revelations, revealed through the Al-Qur’an, and Prophets, through the Hadĭths and Sunnah (What the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, did, agreed or disagreed to). Our faith in Allah (S.W.T.) is reflected in our daily behavour, influenced by our moral system formed and contained within us. It is our inner self;

“Faith is not expectations and not outward ornamentations, but implanted in the heart and realized through actions.” (Ibn Najjar & Dailami)

Al-iman is deepened by al-ilm[124], which is the responsibility of all Muslims to seek[125] in order to fulfill and perform al-amal. Knowledge (spiritual, wisdom and scientific) is the foundation of all acts of al-amal which would be futile and unproductive without the search for further knowledge[126] to enhance the wellbeing of society[127]. Islam places great importance on scientific discovery, knowledge and wisdom to develop civilisation[128]. Al-iman and al-ilm manifested through al-amal is the basis of the advancement of civilization for the benefit of humankind and the Ummah (Muslim community), in particular. This is undertaken under the principal of ad-din, mentioned above, which is referred to as ibadah.

In Islam a person, who of faith, knowledge and pious devotion, manifested in effort and acts, using reason and experience and adheres to the teachings of the Al-Qur’an and Prophets is a person of Taqwa, adhering to the philosophy of Tawhid. He is fulfilling his purpose on earth to perform ibadah[129] to God, through obedience (ta’ah), which conforms to his true and essential nature (fitrah) of man. This relates man to God through everything an individual does, including spiritual duties, thoughts, actions and deeds to other people[130].

As man operates in a social environment, Islam prescribes a number of forms of business organization, through which his obligations can be fulfilled. A mushharakah can take a number of forms;

a)  Mudarabah: Partnership where one manages the partnership and another supplies the                  financial support,                                                                                                                                   b)  Shirkah: where two or more individuals pool financial resources and share profit and loss on an agreed ratio and held liable to the extent of their capital, and                                                              c)  Syari’ah: each partner is able to operate other businesses, independent of the principal business.

Such business organizations are founded and operated on the principal of al-ta’awun (mutual assistance and cooperation) among members of a society for both their mutual benefit and that of a society as a whole[131].

Islamic business is governed by the rules of syar’iah, the path by which all Muslims should follow. The syar’iah is the divine law that establishes the standards of justice and human conduct, as well as what is permitted and prohibited in action. The syar’iah is based on the Al-Qur’an, Sunnah and interpretations by Islamic scholars. Some Muslim scholars have stated that these standards are beyond human and are a goal or path of guidance[132], where others see these utopian ideals as mandatory for advancement of the community[133]. 

Central to the syar’iah are the concepts of Halal and Toyyibaan, which govern all the economic activities of man in wealth production and consumption of wealth, where certain means of gaining a livelihood are declared unlawful[134]. Halal means lawful or permitted for Muslins[135], a concept that is much wider than just issues of food, concerning as to whether things are undertaken according to the syar’iah[136]. Toyyibaan is a much wider concept, meaning good, clean, wholesome, ethical in the Islamic concept. In nutrition, Toyyibaan is much wider than Halal, as food must also be clean, safe, nutritious, healthy and balanced[137]. Toyyibaan would also mean that agriculture must be undertaken within sustainable practices[138], and in business that things are done with good intentions[139].

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Figure 4. The concept of Halal and Toyyibaan in relation to HACCP and GMP[140].

In Islam, the individual’s vision, mission and objectives in business is to achieve both success in this world and the hereafter. This is al-falah. Islam puts very little restriction upon the scale of worldly success[141], except specifying, it must be reasonable, provides the comforts of worldly life[142], with consideration to the poor and suffering[143], and within the balance of worldly and spiritual life[144]. Mans success must also serve the legitimate needs of the ummah[145]. This is in great contrast to the singular objective of profit maximization in contemporary business thinking[146].

Allah (S.W.T.) equipped man with the faculties of understanding right and wrong, so that he may obtain a bright destiny[147]. Man has a free choice in what he chooses. Opposition and straying from his true nature (fitrah) will bring discord to the individual where negative attributes will distort his true nature, which could lead him into doing evil deeds[148]. The individual has his al-iman and al-ilm to keep him from this path of self destruction (al-fasad), which would manifest itself through nepotism, favourtism, envy, greed, corruption, injustice and ignorance[149]. This in Islam is the influence of satan, manifested in many different ways to man to lure him away from God’s chosen path for him. Man becomes unfocused through ignorance and lack of knowledge[150].

Achieving al-falah means that man has lived up to God’s trust placed upon him, through performing his ibadah, while obeying all the laws of the syar’iah. This is where man has overcome his weaknesses in the service of Allah (S.W.T.) through righteous deeds (amal), in his obligation of fard kifayah. Man has reached the state of amanah, fulfilling the trust God has put in him[151].

Islam also specifies the way organizations should be operated and managed. As discussed, an organization must base all its work on al-amal and ibadah with the overall management objective of achieving al-falah for the organization as a whole and each individual within it. This is based upon a foundation of al-iman and al-ilm, within a civilization based upon a Tawhid philosophy, so that employees have the opportunity to achieve taqwa and avoid straying towards the state of al-fasad. Central to achieving this are the concepts of shura (participation in decision making and community learning) and adab (justice and rights).

Shura is total organizational community participation in decision making to ensure an organization gets the best views, is creative, to develop employees understanding of decisions made, to achieve better implementation of decisions and strengthen the Islamic fraternity[152]. Shura is can also be seen as a organizational control mechanism to prevent management and individuals within the organization from straying down the path of ignorance, greed and oppression[153], so that the organization can continue to serve its members and the wider community and thus sustain itself. Shura creates a positive learning environment within an organization, similar to the concepts of a learning organization postulated by Peter Senge[154]. The Al-Qur’an states that the concept of shura is mandatory upon any organisation[155].

An organization should build its foundations upon the basic principles of human rights in its administration based on the concept of adab. Adab is based on the existence and recognition of Allah (S.W.T.) and recognition of his commands and laws (syar’iah). Within an organizational context, adab persuades man to do good and avoid evil (al-fasad), in accordance with the nature of man (fitrah) and nature of his action (al-amal). Adab comprises four major responsibilities, 1. responsibility to God, 2. responsibility to oneself, 3. responsibility to society and other human beings, and 4. responsibility to the universe and other creatures[156].

Over the last few decades ‘Western’ management ideas and ethics have moved closer to Islamic principles and ethics. Stephen Covey, a devout practicing member of The Church of Latter-Day Saints, evangelistically preaches personal development, fulfilment and spirituality within the context of the organisation. Covey’s first book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people set a standard of highly ethical and humanistic principles that all individuals should strive for in business[157];

  • Be proactive as this will develop the ability to control one’s environment, rather than be controlled by it, as is generally the case.
  • Begin tasks with the end result in mind, avoid distractions and concentrate only on relevant activities, which will make you much more productive,
  • Organise correctly and undertake the most important tasks first in a step by step approach,
  • Look for win-win strategies so that all benefit,
  • Listen to people first and understand them before you try to make them understand you, which will assist in maintaining positive relationships with people,
  • Look to develop synergy between people which will develop a better outcome, greater than what individuals can achieve working by themselves, and
  • Continually seek self-renewal, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

 

Covey’s book sold over 15 million copies and launched him on a career of consulting to many of the top Fortune 500 companies. Covey built a training and consultancy company which has over 12,000 direct facilitators with curriculum materials translated into numerous languages. Covey’s organisation has also developed pilot programs with cities wishing to become principle centred communities. Covey’s set of life rules is not without their critics who claim his ideals are too idealistic and difficult to implement as well as being seen as a quick fix approach. However, this does not detract from the extremely large following of devotees to Covey’s methods growing around the world. There are similarities with Peter Drucker, Dale Carnegie and David Allen in the approach. Dale Carnegie’s work is also on the rise again in popularity and consequently, corporations are taking notice of the importance of employee personal growth within the corporate environment.

The above ‘Western’ management ‘gurus’ have had great impact upon the corporate world and way management is taught at business schools. In the world where 20% of the population follow Islam, there is little evidence that Islamic management principles are practiced in Islamic countries of South East Asia. Ironically, unlike the ‘West’, Islamic Scholars, in agreement with Dr. Umer Chapra’s observations have not agreed due to various interpretations of Islam to a universal Islamic business model for the Islamic World to embrace and espouse. ‘Western’ management scientists have taken the initiative on similar principles that were laid down in the Al Qu’ran and Hadiths, more than 1500 years ago.

Commercially, the Islamic model is increasing in importance today. There is a growing awareness among Muslims about their duties and responsibilities to adhere to the Tawhid. As Muslim consumers require more Islamic goods and services[158], Islamic compliant supply chain development is a major growth industry in itself, and is becoming a feature within conventional supply chains internationally. The concepts of Halal/Toyyibaan are compatible with GMP/HACCP, and also incorporate a strong ethical framework that is consistent with the rapidly growing global ‘ethical product’ and ‘Fairtrade’ movements[159].  However how many ‘Islamic corporations’ on the ground are actually complying with Islamic principles, other than Halal certification remains an interesting area for future research. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are developing Halal food hubs without taking into consideration the underlying Tawhid principles to make these proposed hubs holistic in their approach to Islamic business.

Conclusion

The relevance of any paradigm to business and management depends upon the meaning and inspiration it provides, rather than the scientific validity. Scientific validity is not really very important as long as management ideas capture the imagination and promotes action. This can be seen by the management thinking arising in the 1990s within the US which inspired the ‘battle cry’ against the oriental onslaught at the time.

Our sojourn through four Asian paradigms superficially shows that in contemporary society, each paradigm has probably more influence in ‘Western’ management thought than in Asian management thinking. The only probable exception is Confucianism which could cautiously be associated with the structure, process, and strategies of family owned Chinese businesses in Southeast Asia. However even the influence of this paradigm is declining as ‘occidental management paradigms’ learned by ‘Gen Y’ children of patriarchal leaders return home from study abroad with new ideas. Yet this does not mean the disappearance of Confucianism as an influence on management as the cognitive and ethical aspects may enjoy a renaissance in China this century[160].

This is the challenge to management academics and practitioners in the Asian region. It is the task of looking locally through the rich history, culture, society, stories, and philosophies of the region for inspiration to develop and construct ‘homegrown’ management ideas, rather than importing ideas developed in other parts of the world, which are suitable for those parts of the world. Confucian, Buddhist, Strategy, and Islamic institutes of thought exist all over the region, but there has been little focus on developing these philosophies as management paradigms. Today there is an intense vacuum of original management thinkers in the Asian region.

Although Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ and Buddhist Dharma originated in the Asian region, it has primarily been ‘Western’ management thinkers who have applied the respective philosophies to management, at least in these contemporary times. Although the Islamic ‘Tawhid’ is 1500 years old, it is probably only now that it is being considered seriously as a management philosophy. Before now, Islamic thought has had negligible influence on contemporary business, but the market may change that, although Islamic society itself has not taken Islamic concepts onboard into business until this time. The nature of Muslim consumers and the rapid growth of the Halal market globally will be a driver of change here.

The paradigms discussed in this paper intellectually, philosophically, and practically have a lot to add to the development of ethical business, human relations, conflict management, organizational learning, and even creativity development. Using each paradigm as a metaphor assists us understand the paradoxes and contradictions of business in the Asian environment. One of the issues is interpretation. Max Weber interpreted Confucianism as a negative force to economic growth and William Ouchi probably understated the influence of Confucianism in Japanese business hierarchy and decision making. Using a single metaphor provides a biased insight[161], but when multiple metaphors are used, we can see that something may have various layers of meaning.

Finally, the author could have selected other paradigms that have influenced business and management in the Asian region. For example the Taoist traditions probably have an important influence on Chinese cognition in Southeast Asia[162], and Hinduism heavily influences society and the nature of business in South Asia[163]. In addition there are a number of other frames that can be utilized to elicit meaning. Such paradigms as ‘feudalism’, ‘developing nation’, ‘government sponsored capitalism’, ‘crony capitalism’, ‘cowboy entrepreneurship’, ‘adventurism’, ‘Sufism’, ‘Sikhism’, ’Shinto traditions’, ‘Machiavellism and diplomacy’ etc, can bring new layers of meaning. These can be built up into relevant meta-theories and interchanged to shed more understanding of the dynamics of Asian business and economy.



[1] The Japanese success was not a sudden one. Faced with a completely destroyed economy in 1945, language difficulties, lack of resources, and a reputation for poor quality goods, the Government, business and banks worked on long term strategies to reestablish Japanese industry.

[2] Kotler, P., Fahey, L., & Jatusriptak, S. (1985), The New Competition: Meeting the marketing challenge from the Far East, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice/Hall International.

[3] Ohmae, K. (1982), The Mind of the Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business, New York, McGraw-Hill.

[4] Schonberger, R., J. (1982), Japanese manufacturing techniques: Nine hidden Lessons in Simplicity, New York, Free Press.

[5] Pascale, R., T. & Athos, A., G., (1982), The Art of Japanese management: Applications for American Executives, New York, Warner Books.

[6] Ouchi, W., (1982), Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese Challenge, New York, Avon Books.

[7] Ouchi, W. (1984), The M Form Society: How American teamwork Can Capture the Competitive Edge, New York, Perseus Books.

[8] Morita, A., (1987), Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony, London, William Collins & Co. Ltd.

[9] Backman, M. (2004), The Asian Insider: Unconventional Wisdom for Asian Business, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

[10] Studwell, J., (2007), Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, New York, Grove Press.

[11] Lasserre, P., & Schūtte, H., (1995), Strategies for Success in Asia Pacific: meeting New Challenges, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

[12] Krugman, P., (1994), The Myth of Asia’s Miracle, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 73, No. 6, pp. 62-78.

[13] See for example: Engardio, P., (2007), China: How China and India are Revolutionizing Global Business, New York, McGraw-Hill, Yang, K. (2007), Entrepreneurship in China, Aldershot, Ashgate, and Nie, W., Xin, K., & Zhang, L. (2009), Made in China: Secrets of China’s Dynamic Entrepreneurs, Singapore, John Wiley & Sons.

[14] Rarick, C., A., (2007), Confucius on management: Understanding Chinese Cultural values and management Practices, Journal of International Management Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1082092

[15] There are so many texts about Sun Tzu. One of the author’s favorites is Sawyer, R., D., (1994), Sun Tzu: The Art of War, Bolder, Westview Press.

[16] Witten, D., & Rinpoche, A., T., (1999), Enlightened management: Bringing Buddhist Practices to Work, South Paris, ME, Park Street Press. 

[17] Dr. Chapra in an on-line interview was very critical of the development of Islamic economic and business theories claiming they were unbalanced in their approaches. He was reported to state that “Primary attention has been given so far to Islamic Finance. This has led to the false impression that interest-free finance is all that Islamic Economics has to offer. Since most of the governments in Muslim countries are not yet convinced that interest-free finance is workable, excessive emphasis on it has created a resistance in official circles against Islamic Economics. They find it to be of little value. This is unfortunate. We must blame ourselves for this. Islam is a complete way of life and is capable of solving the problems of not only Muslim countries, but also of mankind”. In the same interview Dr. Chapra said that it was the responsibility of Islamic intellectuals to show how Islamic economics could solve the socio-economic problems that humankind faced. This is in great need because there is a distinct lack of theoretical and empirical analysis to show that an Islamic strategy can help solve economic problems, particularly with the current state of the Islamic world, where there is decline in moral values, exploitive financial systems, illegitimate governments, landlordism, lack of education, absence of justice and ineffective operation of incentives and deterrents. Dr. Chapra believes that there is great repetitiveness in what is written about Islamic economics which is not serving any cause. An Islamic alternative needs to be spelt out, which can only really be done after the real position in Islamic countries is analysed, i.e., how individuals, families, firms and governments actually behave, so the gap between ideals and reality can be measured and Islamic remedies developed. See: Islamic Voice, ‘Islamic Economics Offers the Best to Mankind’, http://www.islamicvoice.com/june.2003/ine.htm, (Accessed 20th December 2006).

[18] Oh, T., K., (1991), ‘Understanding Managerial Values and Behaviour Among the Gang of Four: South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, Journal of management, 10, (2), pp. 46-56.

[19] Meyer, M., W., (1994), China: A Concise History, 2nd Edition, Littlefield Adams.

[20] Chen, M., J., (2001), Inside Chinese Business: A Guide for Managers Worldwide, Boston, Harvard Business School Press, P.89.

[21] Chen, M., J., (2001), ibid., P. 21.

[22] Chen, M., J., (2001), ibid., P. 47.

[23] Koller, J., M., (1984), Oriental Philosophies, New York, Macmillan.

[24] Romar, E., (2004), Managerial Harmony: The Confucian Ethics of Peter F. Drucker, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 199-210.

[25] Low, S., P., (2001), Asian Wisdom for Effective Management: From Lao Tzu to Miyamoto Musashi, Kuala Lumpur, Pelanduk Publications, P. 9.

[26] Backman, M., (2001), Asian Eclipse: Exposing the Dark Side of Business in Asia (Revised Edition), Singapore, John Wiley & Sons.

[27] Chen, M., J., (2001), Inside Chinese Business: A Guide for Managers Worldwide, Boston, Harvard Business School Press, P. 23.

[28] Tu, W., M., (1984), Confucian Ethics Today: The Singapore Challenge, Singapore, Federal Publications.

[29] Tu, W., M., (1995), ‘Is Confucianism Part of the Capitalist Ethic?’, Stackhouse, M., C., (Ed.), On Moral Buwsiness, Grand Rapids, MI., William B. Eerdmans Publishing, pp. 409-411.

[30] Fairbank, J., K. and Goldman, M., (1998), China: A New History, Cambridge, MA., Belknap Press of Harvard University.

[31] Tu, W., (1991), A Confucian Perspective on the Rise of Industrial East Asia, Confucianism and the Modernization of China, Mainz, Hase & Koehler Press, P. 31.

[32] Hofstede, G., (1991), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind, London, McGraw-Hill, Franke, R., Hofstede, G., & Bond, M., (1991), Cultural Roots of Economic performance: A Research Note, Strategic Management Journal, Special issue, Global Strategy, pp. 165-166.

[33] Redding, S., (1993), The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism, New York, Walter de Gruyter.

[34] Pye, L., (2000), Asian values: From Dynamos to Dominoes?, Culture matters: How Values Shape Human progress, New York, basic Books., Seong, H., C., (2003), myth and reality in the Discourse of Confucian Capitalism in Korea, Asian Survey, Vol. 43, No. 3, P. 485.

[35] However another explanation is that institutions are more a product of their stage of development rather than the cultural context, which negates the Confucian influence. See: Singh, K., (2007), The Limited Relevance of Culture to Strategy, Asian Pacific Journal of Management, Vol. 24, P. 421.

[36] Neelankavil, J., Mathur, A., & Zhang, Y., (2000), Determinants of managerial performance: A cross-cultural comparison of the perceptions of middle-level managers in four countries, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1, P. 121.

[37] Seong, H., C., (2003), Myth and reality in the discourse of Confucian capitalism in Korea, Asian Survey, Vol. 24, P. 485.

[38] Westwood, R., (1997), Harmony and Patriarchy: The Cultural basis for ‘Paternalistic Headship’ Among Overseas Chinese, Organizational Studies, Vol. 18, No. 3, P. 445.

[39] Redding, G., (1995), Overseas Chinese networks: Understanding the Enigma, Long Range Planning, Vol. 28, No. 1, P. 61.

[40] Weidenbaum, M. and Huges, S., (1997), The Bamboo Network: How Expatriate Chinese Entrepreneurs are Creating a New Economic Superpower in Asia, New York, Free Press.

[41] In actual fact rival Chinese businesses actually compete aggressively against each other in many markets and industries today.

[42] Gomez, E., T., (2004), ‘De-essentialising Capitalism: Chinese Networks and Family Businesses in Malaysia’, NIASyntt, No. 3., pp. 8-10.

[43] Bede, H., (1992), Understanding the Asian Manager: Working with Movers of the Pacific Century, North Sydney, Allen and Unwin, P. 10.

[44] Khan, H., (2001), Social policy in Singapore: A Confucian Model? New York, World bank Institute, available online at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/WBI/Resources/wbi37165.pdf, Lele, A., (2004), State Hindutva and Singapore Confucianism as responses to the Decline of the Welfare State, Asian Studies Review, Vol. 28, pp. 267-282.

[45] Naisbitt, J., (1996), Megatrends Asia: Eight Asian Megatrends that are Reshaping Our World, New York, Simon & Schuster, P. 24.

[46] Backman, M., (2001), op. cit., P. 18.

[47] Sun Tzu is believed to have been the author of The Art of War but accounts differ on the time he served as a general. Some accounts place him between 722-481 BCE, while others place him around 476-221 BCE. See Sawyer, R., D., & Sawyer, M-C., (2007), The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, New York, basic Books, pp. 421-422.

[48] Sawyer, R. D., (1994), op. cit.

[49] Low, S., P., (2001), op. cit., P. 44.

[50] Hunter, M. (2012), Opportunity, Strategy, & Entrepreneurship: A Meta-Theory, Vol. 2, New York, Nova Scientific Publishers, P. 134.

[51] Hunter, M., (2012), ), Opportunity, Strategy, & Entrepreneurship: A Meta-Theory, Vol. 1, New York, Nova Scientific Publishers, P. 312

[52] Min Chen, (2004) Asian Management Systems, 2nd Edition, London, Thomson.  

[53] Chen, M., J., (2001), op. cit.

[54] Ohmae, K., (1990), The Borderless World: Power and Strategy in the Interlinked Economy, London, Collins.

[55] Gomez, E., T., (2004), op. cit.

[56] Tung, R., L., (2001), Strategic management Thought in East Asia, In: Warner, M., Comparative Management: Critical perspectives on Business and Management, Vol. 3, London, Routledge,

[57] McNeilly, M., R., (2001), Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 6-7.

[58] James, B., G., (1986), Business Wargames, London, Penguin, and Ries, A., & Trout, J., (1986), Marketing Warfare, New York, Paperback,

[59] Terms such as offensive, defensive, flanking, and guerrilla marketing strategies have become very common in marketing expression.

[60] Cantrell, R., L. (2003), Understanding Sun Tzu on the Art of War, Arlington, VA, Centre for Advantage.

[61] The early concept of phenomenology was developed by G.W.L. Hegel, who was interested in exploring the phenomena of conscious experience. These concepts were further developed by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, later enlarged upon by numerous philosophers including Franz Brentano, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Max Scheler, Edith Stein, Dietrich von Hildebrand and Emmanuel Levinas. Phenomenology looks at the consciousness as a process of experience rather as a static state. Consciousness is seen as a continual process where something is always in view, whether it be a perception of an object, event or fantasy. Therefore to consciousness it is not important whether the object is real or imaginary – the conscious intention exists of the object. In phenomenology the truth is what is intelligible based on one’s subjective opinion rather than physical reality. The perceived reality comes from the individual’s emotions, which are within the consciousness. The consciousness exists in the lifeworld, which in addition to the physical world includes all life experiences and memories. Some view the world as being completely transparent before the consciousness.

[62] Tashi Tsering, Geshe (2006). Buddhist Psychology: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Vol. 3, Somerville, MA., Wisdom Publications, P. 46.

[63] Dependent origination is a concept describing interrelatedness. It is represented on the other wheel of Samsara in the twelve states of ignorance, mental formation, consciousness, name and form, the six senses, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, becoming, birth and old age, and death. The state of our being and evolution is based on cause and effect. Through this journey our actions have consequences which bring recurring suffering, i.e., action brings suffering and suffering leads to action, in a reciprocal relationship of interdependence we are locked into. Through dependent origination we become locked into patterns like the metaphor of the channel of a stream being embedded and becoming a fixed feature of the geography of an area. This is becoming, a creation of our previous actions which makes up the elements of our personality. 

[64] Batchelor, S., (1997), Buddhism without beliefs: A contemporary guide to awakening, New York, Penguin, P. 4.

[65] Watts, A, (1996). Buddhism the Religion of No-Religion: The edited transcripts, Boston, Turtle Publishing.

[66] Attachment in Buddhism is a much wider concept than attachment in psychotherapy where it is primarily concerned about infant/caregiver relationships in early life. Although there are many similarities, the two concepts should not be confused

[67] Wisdom in Buddhism can be interpreted as acceptance of Karma and conscious awareness of those actions that will bring us happiness and those that will bring us suffering and the understanding of the concept of non-duality, recognizing that there is no permanence.

[68] Karma is the law of cause and effect in relation to our mind, speech and actions, i.e., moral causation. New karma is continually generated through our ‘mindstream’ and is kept within us like a storage bank. Karma can be good or bad depending on the nature of the actions. Our stored karma determines how we perceive and respond to stimuli in the world. These are considered our natural or intuitive responses.

[69] Hunter (2012), op. cit. Vol. 1, pp. 22-23.

[70] Weber, J. (2009), Using Exemplary Business Practices to identify Buddhist and Confucian Ethical value Systems, Business and Society Review, Vol. 114, No. 4, pp. 511-540.

[71] Prayukvong, W., (Undated), A Buddhist Economic Approach to a Business Firm: A case Study, accessed at http://www.eco.ru.ac.th/eco/necon6/papers/g3/3.4.pdf (16th March 2012).

[72]Trungpa, C. (1975). Glimpses of Abhidharma: From a Seminar on Buddhist Psychology, Boston, M.A., Shambhala Publications, de Silva, P. (1991). Buddhist Psychology: A review of theory and practice, Current Psychology: Research and Reviews, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 236-254, Claxton, G. (1990), Meditation in Buddhist Psychology, In: West, M. A. (Ed,), The Psychology of Meditation, Oxford, Clarendon Press, Epstein, M. (1995) Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective, New York, Basic Books.

[73] Goleman, D. (2004). Destructive emotions and how we can overcome them: A dialogue with the Dalai Lama, London, Bloomsbury Publishing.

[74] Safran, J. D. (2003). Psychoanalysis and Buddhism as cultural institutions, In: Safran, J. D. (Editor), Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An unfolding dialogue, Boston, Wisdom Publications, pp. 1-34.

[75] Grossman, P, (2004). Mindfulness Practice: A unique Clinical Intervention for the Behavioral Sciences, In: Heidenreich, T., and Michalak, J., (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance in Psychotherapy, Berlin, DVTG Press, pp. 16-18, Safran, J. D. (2003). Psychoanalysis and Buddhism as cultural institutions, In: Safran, J. D. (Editor), Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An unfolding dialogue, Boston, Wisdom Publications, pp. 1-34, Sherwood, P. M. (2005). Buddhist Psychology: Marriage of Eastern and Western Psychologies, www.sophiacollege.com/publications/Buudd%20pschoz.pdf, (accessed 20th October 2009).

[76] Epstein, M. (2001). Going on Being, New York, Broadway Books.

[77] Low, A., (1976), Zen and the Art of Creative Management, New York, Playboy Paperbacks.

[78] Field, L., (2007), Business and the Buddha: Doing well by doing good, Boston, Wisdom Publications.

[79] Larkin, G., (1999), Building a Business the Buddhist Way, Berkeley, Celestial Arts.

[80] Hunter, M. (2012), op. cit. Vol. 1, pp. 255-271.

[81] One of the first books on Emotions within organizations was: Fineman, S. (Ed.), (2000), Emotions in Organizations, London, Sage.

[82] Senge, P., (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization, New York, Doubleday, P. 3.

[83] Ibid. Ch. 2.

[84] Klein, N., (2001), No Logo, London, Flamingo.

[85] Leadbeater, C., (2000), Living on Thin Air: The New Economy, London, Penguin.

[86] Hutton, W., (1995), The State We’re In, London, Jonathan Cape.

[87] Van Maurik, J., (2001), Writers on Leadership, London, Penguin.

[88] Senge, P., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Smith, B. and Kleiner, A., (1994), The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, London, Nicholas Brealey. 

[89] Hafez, K., (2000), ‘The West and Islam in the Mass Media: Cornerstones for a New International Culture of Communication in the 21st Century’ Discussion Paper C61, Centre for European Integration Studies, Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms-Universatät, Bonn.

[90] Policy Bulletin, (2005), The US Media and the Muslim World, Atlanta, GA, The Stanley Foundation, January 13th. (Accessed at www.stanleyfoundation.org, 19th December 2006).

[91] Hassan, R., (2006), ‘Islamic world faces intellectual stagnation’, Asia News Network, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/11/04/opinion/opinion_30018026.php, (accessed 6th November 2006).

[92] Shams, R., (2004), ‘A Critical Assessment of Islamic Economics’, HWWA Discussion Paper 281, Hamburg Institute of International Economics, Hamburg, Germany.

[93] Chapra, M., U., (1990), Islam and the Economic Challenge, Leicester, UK., Islamic Foundation and Virginia, USA., The International Institute of Islamic Thought.

[94] Al-Qur’an (3:164)

[95] Koya, P.K., (Editor), (1996), Hadĭth ans Sunnah: Ideals and Realities, Kuala Lumpur, Islamic book Trust, Introduction xiii.

[96] Hassan, M., A., (1992), The Tawhidic Approach in Management and Public Administration: Concepts, Principals and an Alternative Model, Kuala Lumpur, National Institute of Public Management, pp. 6-7.

[97] Al-Qur’an (51:56)

[98]Al-Qur’an (30:30)

[99] Al-Qur’an (4:28))

[100] Al-Qur’an (20:115)

[101] Al-Qur’an (102:1-2)

[102] Al-Qur’an (33:72)

[103] Al-Qur’an (17:11)

[104] Al-Qur’an (17:100)

[105] Al-Qur’an (17:67)

[106] Al-Qur’an (18:54)

[107] Al-Qur’an (70:19-20)

[108] Al-Qur’an (4:128)

[109] Beekum, R., I., (1996), Islamic Business Ethics, Herndon, VA., International Institute of Islamic Thought.

[110] Mohsin, M., (1995), Economics of Small Business in Islam, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Visiting Scholar Research Series No. 2., Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank.

[111] Mehar, A., (2004), From Knowledge Creation to Economic Development: Missing Links in the Muslim World, Munich, Germany, MRPA Paper No. 358, http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/358/, (Accessed 19th December, 2006).

[112] Kahf, M., (2003), Sustainable Development in the Muslim Countries, , Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, IDB Prize Winners’ Lecture Series, Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank

[113] Beal, T., (2006), The Global Islamic Economy: A rough estimate of the position of Islamic peoples in the global economy, paper presented to the Seminar on Islam And The Global Economy
Malaysian And Nz Perspectives, Wellington, New Zealand, Tuesday 13th June.
(http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~caplabtb/beal.html,  Accessed  19th December 2006).

[114] Al-Qur’an (35:29), (26:207), (17:82).

[115] Al-Qur’an (2:164)

[116] Al-Qur’an (5:3)

[117] Al-Qur’an (2:168)

[118] Al-Qur’an (14:32-34)

[119] Al-Qur’an (24:37)

[120] Siddiqi, M., N., (2005), ‘Tawhid: The Concept and Process’, in Syed Agil, S., O. and Ghazali, A., (Eds.), Readings in the Concept and Methodology of Islamic Economics, Kuala Lumpur, CERT Publications, P.1.

[121] Al-Qur’an (2:170), (43:22-24), (7:28-29).

[122] Al-Qur’an (22:77)

[123] Al-Qur’an (2:275)

[124] Al-Qur’an (17:36)

[125] Al-Qur’an (92:4), (29:69).

[126] Hassan, M., A., (1992), op. cit., P. 24.

[127] Al-Qur’an (31:20)

[128] Al-Qur’an (35:28)

[129] Al-Qur’an (51:56)

[130] Al-Qur’an (2:21)

[131] Ismail, A., H., (1992), ‘Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd.: Principals and Operations’, in Sheikh Abod, S., G., Syed Agil, S., O., and Ghazali, A., (Eds.), An Introduction to Islamic Finance, Kuala Lumpur, Quill Publishers, P. 258.

[132] Doi, I., A., R., (1981), Non-Muslims Under Syar’iah, Lahore, Kazi Publications, P.4.

[133] Al-Buraey, M., A., (1988), Administrative Development: An Islamic Perspective, London, Kegan Paul International, P. 145.

[134] Chaudry, M., S., (2006), Social and Moral Code of Islam, Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia, Masterpiece Publications, P. 15.

[135] Halal-Haram Guide (2006), Penang, Consumers Association of Penang, P. 17.

[136] Amin, M., (1965), Wisdom of the Prophet Muhammad, Lahore, Pakistan, Sh. Muhammad Ashraf.

[137] Abdullah, A., and Huda, N., (2006), ‘Nutrition Security in Muslim Countries: The Drive Towards a Healthy Ummah’ in Saifuddeen, S., M., Mohd. Salleh, S., and Sobian, A., Food and Technological Progress: An Islamic Perspective, Kuala Lumpur, MPH Publishing, P. 173.

[138] Al-Qur’an (7:58)

[139] Al-Qur’an (5:5), (2:168)

[140] Hunter, M. (2009), Essential Oils: Art, Agriculture, Science, Industry, and Entrepreneurship: A focus on the Asia-Pacific region, New York, Nova Scientific Publishers, P. 670.

[141] Al-Qur’an (2:198)

[142] Al-Qur’an (7:31)

[143] Al-Qur’an (25:67)

[144] Al-Qur’an (22:77)

[145] Al-Qur’an (3:1-2), (4:125)

[146] Al-Qur’an (6:132), (16:97), (16:93)

[147] Al-Qur’an (90:8-10)

[148] Al-Qur’an (30:41), (103:1-3)

[149] Al-Qur’an (33:72)

[150] Al-Qur’an (2:169)

[151] Al-Qur’an (33:72)

[152] Hassan, M., A., (1992), op. cit., pp. 66-68.

[153] Al-Qur’an (42:36-40)

[154] Senge, P., M., (2006), The Fifth Discipline: The art and Practice of the learning organization (Revised and updated with 100 pages), London. Random House.

[155] Al-Qur’an (3:159)

[156] Lapidus, M., (1984), ‘The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam’, in Metcalf, B., D., (Ed.), Moral Conduct and Authority, Berkeley, Los Angeles, University of California Press, P. 39.

[157] Covey, S., R., (1990), Principal Centred Leadership, New York, Free Press.

[158] This is much wider than food and includes banking, finance, insurance, entertainment, tourism, and cosmetics, etc.

[159] Hunter, M. (2012), The emerging Halal cosmetic and personal care market, Personal Care, March, P. 40.

[160] Bell, D., A. (2006), China’s leaders rediscover Confucianism – Editorials & Commentary – International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, Sept. 4, accessed online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/14/opinion/14iht-edbell.2807200.html (16th March 2012).

[161] Morgan, G. (2006), Images of Organization, (Updated edition), Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications, P. 4.

[162] Spencer-Rodgers, J., Peng, K., & Wang, L., (2010), Dialecticism and the Co-occurrence of Positive Emotions Across Cultures, Journal of Cross-Cultural psychology, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 109-115.

[163] Rai, H., (2005), The Role of Hinduism in Global India and Her Business Ethics, In: Capaldi, N., (Ed.), Business and Religion: a clash of civilizations?, Salem, MA, M & M Scrivener press, pp. 379-389.


      
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Emanuel Paparella2012-11-01 11:06:26
The above is an intriguing and insightful article reinforcing the notion, in my opinion, that one throws religion out the window at one’s own cultural peril. The West has been at it since the times of Voltaire and many other Western “enlightened” geniuses out to enlighten the world by liquidating traditional religion to be replaced by modernity and “inevitable progress.”

As Jung aptly pointed out: throw religion out the window and it will come back from the back door; usually in the form of a cult or of a fanatical ideology. The result in the West proper has been fanatical ideologies such as Nazism, Fascism, totalitarian Communism exported to Asia on the back of colonialism.

The question naturally arises: how many people in China are aware of the fact that the greatest importation from the West of them all is not colonialism but the ideology of Communism parading as internationalism and cosmopolitanism and social justice? The more proper genuinely Chinese heritage is not in fact Communism, or Capitalism, or the monstrous hybrid we have currently, but Confucianism. It may ultimately prove more resilient and more in harmony with Democracy than Communism.

Will the Chinese people eventually recover their rightful heritage? Will the capitalistic West or the misguided Chinese communist leaders allow them to do so? History will eventually give an answer to that question but it is worth keeping in mind that, contrary to what Hegel thought in his dialectical historical thinking, even history is not inevitable and the existential angst of man is that freedom is at the core of his being and to choose not to choose is already a choice.


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