Spiritual wisdom of Taoism in business: through the lens of interpretation realism in a Cisco end-to -end case study

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Wong, PSS, Neck, PA & McKenna, B 2013, 'Spiritual wisdom of Taoism in business: through the lens of interpretation realism in a Cisco end-to -end case study', Purushartha: A Journal of Management Ethics and Spirituality, vol. 6, no. 1.

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This paper explores how the amalgamated wisdom of East and West can instigate a wisdombased renaissance of humanistic epistemology (Rooney & McKenna, 2005) to provide a platform of harmony in managing knowledge-worker productivity, one of the biggest management challenges of the 21st century (Drucker, 1999). The paper invites further discussions from the social and business research communities on the significance of “interpretation realism” technique in comprehending philosophies of Lao Tzu (老子) , Confucius (孔子)a nd Sun Tzu (孫子)[L ao/Confucius/Sun] written in “Classical Chinese.” This paper concludes with a call to build prudent, responsible practices in management which affects the daily lives of many (Rooney & McKenna, 2005) in today’s knowledgebased economy. Interpretation Realism will be applied to an analysis of three Chinese classics of Lao/Confucius/Sun which have been embodied in the Chinese culture for over 2,500 years. Comprehending Lao/Confucius/Sun’s philosophies is the first step towards understanding Classical Chinese culture. However, interpreting Chinese subtlety in language and the yin and yang (陰陽) c ircular synthesis in their mode of thinking is very different to understanding Western thought with its open communication and its linear, analytical pattern of Aristotelian/Platonic wisdom (Zuo, 2012). Furthermore, Eastern ways of communication are relatively indirect and mediatory in culture. Western ways of communication are relatively direct and litigious in culture (Goh, 2002). Furthermore, Lao/Confucius/Sun’s philosophies are difficult to comprehend as there are four written Chinese formats and over 250 dialects: Pre-classical Chinese (甲骨文) C,la ssical Chinese (古文) L,ite rary Chinese (文言文)a nd modern Vernacular Chinese (白話文) B.ec ause Classical Chinese is poetic, comprehension requires a mixed approach of interpretation realism combining logical reasoning behind “word splitting (拆字)“, w ord occurrences”,

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