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Buddhism and innovative organizational culture



Chang, Otto










Worldwide business competition has intensified tremendously in the last decade as international trade has picked up under international agreements and arrangements such as World Trade Organization (WTO). In such a competitive environment, a company needs to possess core competitive capability in order to survive and succeed. As our economy moves from the production-based industrial age into the knowledge-based information age, one of the most important core competitive capabilities a company can possess is innovation, that is, the ability to create new products or services or to use a new method or process for production or service. However, innovation does not exist in vacuum. In order to be innovative, an organization needs to have a certain culture to support it. The literature is scattered with studies that attempt to identify the links between organizational culture and innovation. Very few of them, however, investigate the role of religious beliefs in creating an innovative organizational culture. Still fewer of them have studied the relations between Buddhism and innovative organizational culture. The purpose of this paper is to explore how Buddhism could contribute to management literature in this area. Specifically, I will illustrate how Humanistic Buddhism can be applied to develop an ideal organizational culture that is self-learning and perpetually renewing. The first section of this paper defines organizational culture, identifies its function, and points out its double-edged effects on an organization. The second section surveys current literature on organizational culture and innovation. The third section shows how the practice of Buddhism is conducive to the creation of innovative organizational culture. The last section concludes the paper.

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