Is Yin-Yang Superior for Paradox Research?

Xin Li, Verner Worm, Xie Peihong

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Purpose: The paper debunks Peter P. Li’s assertion that Yin-Yang is superior to any other cognitive frames or logical systems for paradox research. The purpose of this paper is to alert the Chinese indigenous management researchers to the danger of Chinese exceptionalism and over-confidence.
    Design/methodology/approach: To show that Peter P. Li’s assertion is doubtful, the authors identify the flaws in his analysis.
    Findings: The authors find that there are three serious flaws in Peter P. Li’s analysis. First, there are four defects in the typology of cognitive frames he built in order to compare Yin-Yang with the others. Second, his understanding of dialectics in general and Hegelian dialectics in particular is flawed. And finally, without resorting to Yin-Yang, many scholars can develop theories that are equivalent to those derived from Yin-Yang.
    Research limitations/implications: Due to the page limit, this paper only focuses on arguing that Yin-Yang is not superior to other cognitive frames or logical systems without going one step further to explain in which situations Yin-Yang are valuable and might be more suitable than others for helping us understand some research issues.
    Practical implications: This paper implies that we should not blindly believe that the Chinese way of thinking and acting is superior to other people’s. Chinese people should be open-minded in the globalized era, not only promoting their own culture but also appreciating and learning from other cultures.
    Social implications: The reduction of cultural exceptionalism and ethnocentrism can make cross-cultural communication and interaction smoother.
    Originality/value: This paper is a rigorous critique on the “Yin-Yang being superior” assertion of Peter P. Li.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCross Cultural and Strategic Management
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)501-514
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Indigenous
    • Paradox
    • Yin-Yang
    • Hegel
    • Dialectic
    • Superior

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