A Possible Journey from Inside Out?

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  • Title: A Possible Journey from Inside Out?: Drawing Complex Living Systems Awareness from Traditional Chinese Knowledge in Pursuit of Sustainability for China
  • Author(s): Lulu Ouyang, Sam Wells
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: On Sustainability
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context
  • Keywords: Organisational Sustainability in China, Systems Thinking, Complexity, Daoism
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2325-1115 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-114X (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1115/CGP/v13i03/25-40
  • Citation: Ouyang, Lulu, and Sam Wells. 2017. "A Possible Journey from Inside Out?: Drawing Complex Living Systems Awareness from Traditional Chinese Knowledge in Pursuit of Sustainability for China." The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context 13 (3): 25-40. doi:10.18848/2325-1115/CGP/v13i03/25-40.
  • Extent: 16 pages

Abstract

China and Chinese corporations face a very difficult challenge. How do Chinese businesses and their managers reconcile the apparent dichotomy between economic prosperity and sustainability—by coming to appreciate and work with the connectedness, the interdependence, and the complexity that characterize “true” sustainability? The response to that challenge needs to be sensitive to and make sense in a peculiarly Chinese context. Regulation and the dynamics of the market have been only partly successful. Perhaps compelling insights and prompts to action can be found in the shared cultural inheritance, particularly the wisdom and language of the Daoist tradition. Perhaps this offers one way through which Chinese managers can grapple with contemporary sustainability challenges, which demand systems thinking and systemic action in an irreducibly complex and uncertain world. This article shows the way to further research on the link between systems thinking and traditional wisdom in cultivating a fundamental shift to sustainability.