Book Review: Pragmatic Strategy: Eastern Wisdom, Global Success

Stacey, R. (2013). Book Review: Pragmatic Strategy: Eastern Wisdom, Global Success. Organization Studies April 2013 vol. 34 no. 4 559-561

Excerpt:In the first part of this review I want to select what seem to me to be the key points that Nonaka and Zhu make in this book about strategy, and I will try to convey the essence of each of these key points in quotes taken from the book. In the second part of the review I will make some comments on their approach. Nonaka and Zhu set out to provide a pragmatic understanding of organizational strategy, drawing on the pragmatism to be found in America (Peirce, James and Dewey), Europe (Aristotle’s notion of phronesis or practical wisdom, Foucault and Habermas) and, particularly, the Far East (Confucius). For them,

"… pragmatism is a bias for action with focus and energy, a willingness to make-do without knowing how things might unfold, a habit that looks at situated particulars rather than generalised principals, an orientation that seeks knowledge based on the consequences of acting upon it, a mindscape that embraces plural perspectives and methods, an attitude that appreciates novelty and surprise, a conviction that collectively we can make a positive difference, a belief that practical consensus is often better achieved at social-cultural-aesthetics levels instead of grounded on Truth or Reason. (p. 25)"

In expressing this view, the authors take a processual view of organizational life which recognizes never ending change and its fundamental uncertainty, arguing that the future is not determined but made by what we do. The leader’s role is not to fix a destination but engage people on a journey while encouraging all to help in shaping its course. This view leads them to declare that:

"The critical question in strategy becomes this: how are we to correlate emerging particulars so as to realise their productive effects in the service of common goodness. (p. 36)"

A key element in the view that these authors take of pragmatism as process is that of creativity which is regarded as a virtue in Confucianism...

Read the review.

(Something interesting I found)Posted:Apr 01 2013, 12:00 AM by brendah
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