With the recent rise of East Asia Confucius’ five principles has regained its prominence .
Confucius’ five principles of relationships are between:
ü The State – Subject
ü Father – Son
ü Teacher – Pupils
ü Elder brother – Younger Brothers
Of the five relationships only the relationships between friends is seen as relationships between the equals. The others are concerned about maintaining the paternalistic relationships of the seniors and juniors. The seniors are expected to provide care, guidance and protection to juniors/subordinates while the latter is expected to show absolute respect, loyalty and obedience.
In practice, in most overseas Chinese companies open conflict is something to be avoided at all cost, and although educational background and competencies are important during recruitment stages, attitude and ‘fit’ are seen as being more important when it comes to reviewing the eligibility of an individual to becoming a leader within the company.
The recent success of the East Asian economies and the expressed intent and actual exchanges from players from mainland China to re-learn the very concept of Confucius in the governing and running of public and private enterprises have further enhanced the interest among scholars and practitioners alike to deepen our understanding of this supposedly ‘unique’ leadership practices.