Purpose – Badaracco of Harvard Business School suggests a “nudge‐test‐escalate” (NTE) approach in influencing and implementing change. In The Book of Changes ( I‐Ching ), the most archaic and authoritative works of the Chinese classics, it adopts a “test‐accelerate‐forge” (TAF) approach instead. The purpose of this paper is to examine the similarities and differences between these two models, and addresses the effectiveness of influential leadership when the models are used in the western and eastern settings, respectively. It also looks at the fundamental concepts that underlie the models and discusses the characteristics and virtues that an influential leader must possess in order to make change happen. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the Harvard model by Badaracco and extracts taken from I‐Ching. It makes comparisons between the Chinese and Western perspectives. Findings – The paper provides a discussion on the NTE and the TAF three‐step approaches in their leadership style to understand how western and Chinese leaders exert their power of influence. This paper argues that although each adopts a three‐step approach in its leadership style, the differences lie in the philosophies that are used to guide the leader in influencing others. From the Western perspective, there are three pertinent virtues of “restraint, modesty, and tenacity” in pushing through change, while the Chinese adopt the three virtues of “prudence, balance, and authority” as their essential guide in leadership and by exercising self‐restraint and patience, resonance, and balancing. Practical implications – The paper presents the pertinence and applicability of the Harvard model and the Chinese model since there is an increase of frequency of cross‐cultural communication in government, business, education, and other organisations. One of the trends in research on leadership is on leaders' quality in relation to organisational ethics and competencies of effective communication. Originality/value – This paper presents a high level of comparative analyses between two influential models. It points out the need for leaders in both the western and Asian organisations to be aware of the two models so as to enhance their competencies and capacities in maximising change. This paper argues that Harvard model is well designed and highly applicable; and that the Chinese classics on influential leaders are still relevant in today's contexts.
Chinese Management Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2009
Keywords: Leadership; Influence; China
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