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Cultural Intelligence


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Chen and Miller










West Meets East:
Toward an Ambicultural Approach to Management
By Ming-Jer Chen and Danny Miller

Executive Overview
In the aftermath of the recent economic crisis, the world is looking for fresh ideas and new perspectives. Business reality has transformed from “West leads East” to “West meets East.” A thriving Chinese business culture represents not only a source of economic partnership but a potential fount of managerial wisdom that can help renew Western economies. Unfortunately, the cultural distance between East and West makes Chinese examples too different, and at times inappropriate, for Western firms to emulate. Outstanding entrepreneurs such as Stan Shih, who have taken the best managerial practices from the East and the West while avoiding the shortcomings, represent ideal “intermediate” role models. By employing such an “ambicultural” approach to management, Shih provides a model for both bridging cultures and instructing organizations in the East and West. In this essay, we discuss these linkages and some of the useful lessons for managers from both cultures. Indeed, “Chinese” as a way of thinking, with its emphasis on balance and self-other integration, offers the promise to bridge global divides and facilitate the formation of global-minded executives.


he global economic crisis has destroyed vast amounts of wealth— both public and private— and eliminated tens of millions of jobs. An estimated $34.4 trillion worldwide was erased between the autumn of 2008 and March 2009 (Liu, 2010); American households alone have lost some $11 trillion in wealth, according to a Federal Reserve report (Kalita, 2009). Since the beginning of 2008, the United States has shed more than eight million jobs, and in early 2009 the International Labor Organization projected the loss of as many as

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