The Chinese Strategic Mind

The Chinese Strategic Mind

Hong Liu

This book addresses the fundamental issue: does the Chinese strategic mind have its own idiosyncrasies which differ considerably from those of the Western mind? It expounds and unravels the particular characteristics of the Chinese strategic mind: what they are, how they are evolved and what strategic implications they have. This book adopts a holistic approach to an analysis of Chinese strategic thinking, drawing upon the fields of literature (including the sources of both the Chinese and English languages), military studies, political science, history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, linguistics and business strategy. It combines a detailed consideration of these disciplines with a series of case studies to elucidate the formation, nature and crucial managerial implications of the idiosyncratic Chinese strategic mind.

Chapter 4: Idiosyncrasies of the Chinese strategic mind

Hong Liu

Subjects: business and management, asia business, business leadership, organisational behaviour, strategic management


As can be seen from the figure, the framework comprises two parts: 1. The lower part consists of the general (or Western) strategic knowledge that may be applicable to the Chinese context in the form of an ascending scale from zero to ‘complete’ – a Chinese decision maker may know nothing about general (or Western) strategic principles and another may have considerable knowledge of strategic management through reading, management training or education. 2. The upper part displays a Chinese cognitive system in which the language structure shapes the Chinese philosophical and holistic thinking mode, laying the foundation for Chinese culture and the associated components that form part of the Chinese strategic mind. Some Chinese entrepreneurs, for instance, may know nothing about Western strategic theories, with a zero point on the scale, but others may have gained substantial knowledge, for instance, as a result of attending a university in the USA and reading Western strategy books. Porter’s generic competitive strategy, competitive advantage and the competitive advantage of nations may be considered as ‘universal knowledge’, which may help decision makers think about generic strategic options and policy directions, but would not get them very far in business development or competition in the Chinese environment without being combined with Chinese thinking or cultural adaptation.

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