The performance-orientation is based on the shareholder supremacy view, which originated from the field of orthodox economic theory. It could generate two paradoxes: the first one is whether the value of an enterprise should be based on a single indicator or a multi-dimensional performance indicator; the second one is whether the performance-orientation should guide the manager to pursue short-term goals or long-term goals. Financial measurement of performance-orientation will increase managers’ attitudes and preferences on risk-taking avoidance and Not- Invented-Here syndrome. However, in order to achieve sustainable development, managers need to constantly innovate, learn, experiment, test new ideas, and have risk-taking capabilities. Adhering to too much " good” performance standards will create " competence traps” and an " Icarus Paradox”, which is a misleading signal for continuous improvement and innovation. Therefore, the performance-orientation could inhibit creativity and learning and reduce the resilience and adaptability of enterprises, thus further increasing the probability of firm failure. Western scholars developed the methods of balanced scorecard and anti-fragility to resolve this paradox, but they didn’t fully address the paradox of performance orientation. Unlike extant studies, this paper proposes a new theoretical framework of " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi” orientation （or " Live long and prosper”, the Vulcan salutation in the television series Star Trek） to solve the performance-oriented paradox. We like to bring back organizational goals to " Tao”—the most essential energy of Chinese seminal philosophy, the creation, constantly surging and continuous change of " Tao”, that is the so-called " the great virtue of life” proposed by the Book of Changes. " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi” orientation emphasizes the competing intra-organizational forces of " yin” and " yang”. In other words, the manager should pay attention to the opposing forces and the welfare of marginal stakeholders. In addition, we explore how the antecedent factor—All-under-heaven （" Tianxia”） mindset in the corporate board could influence the two mediating variables of corporate governance, the representatives of stakeholders at boards and boards’ cooperative orientation, which further affect the likelihood of adopting " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi” orientation. " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi” orientation will positively enhance the degree of open innovation and have a good balance of co-opetition among partners or rivals. Finally, we also examine how " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi”, as an Eastern management concept, dialogues with some Western management concepts. This paper makes these contributions: First, unlike the performance-orientation based on the shareholder supremacy view, we propose a novel concept construct, namely " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi” orientation, based on the traditional Chinese yin-yang thinking, the Western organizational resilience theory, and the stakeholder theory. Second, this theory, with an Eastern root, could generate a good dialogue with Western strategic theories, such as organizational ambidexterity, sustainability, and dynamic capabilities. Finally, " Sheng-sheng-bu-xi” orientation has a good inheritance and innovative development for combining Western stakeholder theory and Chinese traditional " yin-yang” theory.
“Live Long and Prosper”: A Dialogue with the Performance-Orientation Paradox
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 41, Issue 05, pp. 128 - 140 (2019) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2019.05.010
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Cite this article
Luo Xiaoyi, Sun Sunny Li. “Live Long and Prosper”: A Dialogue with the Performance-Orientation Paradox[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2019, 41(5): 128-140.
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