從歷史看領導

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1992 / 10月

文‧朱高正(評介人.朱高正口述滕淑芬整理)


從大批留洋的企管碩士,到日本式經營,我們尋尋覓覓、苦心學習他人的管理技巧。事實上,中國古書裏有關管理領導的例證所在皆是。

「從歷史看領導」就是嘗試為企業界介紹中國古代領導藝術的一本書。我們特別請到以「孔門弟子」自居的立法委員朱高正作評,並訪問作者美國匹茲堡大學教授許倬雲。


韓非子曾說:「釋法術而心治,堯不能正一國;去規矩而妄意度,奚仲不能成一輪;廢尺寸而差短長,王爾不能半中。使中主守法術,拙匠守規矩尺寸,則萬不失矣。」

所謂「中主」就是指「上不及堯舜、下不為桀紂」的國君,只要懂得運用「法術」,就不會發生領袖神話的事,中國古代早就想到這個問題。

一般而言,雖然時代背景有差異,但人性不變;科技水平雖有變化,管理、組織等技術層面也有所不同,但領導統御的基本原理,則初無二致。

向歷史借鏡

我們看看坊間有關管理的書,大多是將日本的管理書籍翻譯過來,但是細看之後,會發現日本式管理多取材自中國古書。

事實上我國古代有不少記載,足以作為企業管理的借鑑。《戰國策》、《說苑》、《貞觀政要》、《資治通鑑》與《增廣智囊補》奡N有很多取之不盡、用之不竭的素材。舉個例子來說,有一天魏文侯在宮中聽到樂隊演奏,就說「左高」。一旁的客卿田子方就笑說:「當國君的人,不必懂得音樂,只要選擇適當的人來擔任樂官即可。」(臣聞之君明樂官,不明樂音。今君審於音,臣恐其聾於官也)。

這則故事指出,一般人常有對自己熟悉的事物意見特別多的毛病。譬如業務部經理被調升為總經理之後,但仍然對業務部門的意見特別多,這位總經理就犯了和魏文侯一樣的錯誤;換句話說,他是以總經理的職位做業務經理的事,非常危險。因為公司裡還有財務、人事、研究開發、行銷等部門,總經理應該更宏觀、面面俱到。他的責任是挑出適當人選,擔任部門主管。

一國之君也是如此,聽到樂隊演奏就批評「左邊音調太高」,其實,他只要任命一名好樂官,就可以帶好樂隊。現在有很多人就犯了這個毛病。懂得的事就過問,不懂的事就隨它去。

重讀歷史,銜接斷層

我想強調的是中國古代有很多值得我們學習的古書,問題就在於今人不懂歷史,而且這個現象還非常嚴重。我們不但不懂歷史,甚至否定自己的歷史。

自一九○六年廢除科舉以後,受過傳統教育的人,缺乏新觀念;接受新式教育的人,受五四運動「打到孔家店」影響從而全面否定傳統,造成知識界嚴重的斷層。

如今我們有必要重新認識自己的歷史,因為如果不了解自己的過去,不僅無法為「現在」定位,也無法為「未來」定向。任何創造如果和過去斷裂,這種創造都是偶發的;只有意識到和「過去」有深刻的淵源,這種創造才有所本。

在中國現代化過程中,西方「教會學校」一直扮演著主導性角色,我們不知不覺受其左右。從反對、否定歷史傳統開始;久而久之,變成情緒上的排斥,到最後演變成不想了解,而對自己的歷史傳統懵然無知。陳陳相因,終至形成反中國、反傳統情結,一談到傳統就是落伍的同義詞;談到中國就是封建、反動的代名詞。

這一代中國人對古書很陌生,事實上,傳統中有很多獨到之處,西方實難望其項背。中國幅員廣大,歷史綿亙不絕而不墜,在財務、人事管理上絕對有一套獨特的制度。中國的文官制度就被全世界稱頌,英國的文官制度還是十七世紀由新加坡間接從中國學得,德國最驕傲的文官制度則是再向英國學來的。

追溯中國式管理

中國式管理先是向外輸出,而最近又見回流。自己本來有好東西不會用,日本人幫我們消化傳統寶藏,再以昂貴價格向我們推銷。身為中國人,為什麼不直接在觀念上稍微調整?此外,可能和我們國學教育太過偏窄也有關,過去的國學教育偏重在詩詞歌賦與修身養性層面,忽略了經世濟民的方面。

像顧炎武、王夫之等人皆以明代遺民自居,因喪國之痛,想盡辦法去探討為什麼會國破家亡。他們不斷反省,足跡踏遍中國,寫出來的東西真是字字血淚。中國淪於夷狄之手,不是一般亡國之痛,而是傳統文化的淪喪(即所謂「亡天下」)。

又如漢朝的國憲,由賈誼、董仲舒兩人所擘建,最了不起的地方就是採用選舉辟召制度。各郡人口每滿廿萬人,一年要推薦一名郎官到中央任職,由「累世經學」到累世公卿,「士族」就是這樣崛起。漢朝就是靠讀書人來穩定江山,這也是中國文明之處,以知識、德行舉才,比我們現在的選舉高明。

最近我又重讀一次《鹽鐵論》,這是漢昭帝始元六年(漢武帝死後第六年)舉行的一次財經政策大辯論,由當年在京畿附近推選出來的六十幾名「文學」和當權的御史大夫桑弘羊辯論了五個多月,水準比我們現在的立法院高太多了。所以今人是不懂古人,以為他們比我們落後,其實是我們無知。

許倬雲教授新著「從歷史看領導」,基本上是一個研討會的講評記錄。他嘗試從客觀角度、用淺顯易懂的文字,為現代對中國歷史文化並不嫻熟的企業領袖,介紹古代領導思想。

如果從歷史學專業的角度來批評,並不適宜,這本書無法反映出許教授在史學方面的專業素養。但是如果從台灣的中國人開始用自己角度向企業界闡述傳統歷史經驗,卻是一個值得肯定的嘗試。尤其許教授刻意挑選荀子、韓非子師徒兩人,來為中國式管提出理論架構,非常恰當。

儒法本一家

儒法兩家就學術淵源來說是一體的,中國儒墨道法四家,最早號稱顯學的是儒墨。儒家是右派、墨家是左派;儒家強調的是禮、講名分、重自修;墨家的基本立場是勞動流民階級,主張非禮、非攻(國際主義)、節葬(平等主義)和天志。墨家主張頗似「社會主義」,對現實極端不滿;儒家講的是務實面,希望循序漸進改革現實,再建「王政」。

到了戰國劇變,從儒家衍生出法家,名分講的過份的結果,反而忽略了為什麼講禮;墨家則激化成道家,反對現實變成徹底否定現實,而主張回歸自然。道家黃老思想與墨家一樣也不太適合拿來治國,所以主導中國現實政治的主流是儒法兩家。

我是專門研究法律哲學與國家哲學的,要探討國家的起源,從純理的角度來看,其實離不開荀子所謂「定分止爭」的範疇。我要強調的是,荀子思想,比被尊為現代政治學開山祖師的馬基維利或霍布斯強太多了,只不過我們後代子孫不肖,未能予以詮釋,以因應東西文化接觸以後的新環境,令人相當遺憾。

〔圖片說明〕

P.110

作者:許倬雲

出版者:書評書目出版社

定價:170元

頁數:214頁

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近期文章

EN

Looking at Leadership Through History

Ju Gau-jeng as told to Teng Sue-feng /tr. by Peter Eberly

From the cachet that comes with earning an MBA degree in the West to the spate of books on Japanese-style management, we're searching around frantically to learn the management skills of others. In fact, there are plenty of lessons on management and leadership to be found in ancient Chinese writings.

Looking at Leadership Through History introduces the art of leadership in ancient China for people in the business world of today. We interviewed the author, Professor Hsu Cho-yun of the University of Pittsburgh and specially invited national legislator Ju Gau-jeng, who prides himself on being a "disciple of the Confucian school," to review the book.


Most management books on the market today are translations from Japanese, but if you look at them closely, you'll find that Japanese-style management takes a lot of material from ancient China.

In fact, there are lots of ancient Chinese writings that provide lessons on business management. Strategies of the Warring States, Garden of Anecdotes, A Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government and An Expanded Supplement to the Wisdom Sack contain an inexhaustible wealth of material. Here's an example. One day Wen, the marquis of Wei, heard the imperial ensemble playing in the palace and said "the pitch on the left is too high." A visiting foreign official in residence named Tien Tzu-fang who was standing next to him laughed and said, "A head of state doesn't need to understand music. All he needs to know is how to appoint the right conductor."

As the story points out, many managers make the mistake of spending too much time on what they're most familiar with. The business affairs manager who has been promoted to general manager yet still keeps meddling in the business affairs department is making the same mistake as the Marquis of Wei, for instance. He's acting as a business affairs manager instead of a general manager. That can be dangerous to the firm because there are many departments--financial affairs, personnel, sales, research and development--and the general manager is supposed to watch over them all. His job is to choose the right people to head them up.

National leaders can be like that, too. They listen to the orchestra and then say, "The pitch on the left is too high." Actually, as long as they appoint a good conductor, they'll get a good orchestra. A lot of people make the same mistake. They get involved in what they understand and let the rest slide.

Rereading history, fusing the rift: My point is that there are lots of ancient Chinese books worth studying. The problem is that people today don't know anything about our history. It's a serious problem. It's not just that we don't know anything about it, we even deny it.

After the imperial examination system was abolished in 1906, people who received a traditional education lacked new ideas, but those educated in the new way, under the influence of the anti-Confucianism of the May 4th Movement, completely denied tradition, and that created a serious rift in the intellectual world.

Today we have to become acquainted with our own history again because if we don't, we won't be able to define ourselves in the present or orient ourselves for the future. Any creative work that is cut off from the past is accidental and fortuitous. The only kind of work with deep roots is that which is consciously drawn from the well of the past.

Western missionary schools played a leading role in the course of China's modernization and have had an unconscious influence on the way we look at our history and tradition. What started out as opposition and denial ended up as emotional rejection and willful ignorance, a mentality hostile to China and tradition, where tradition is a synonym for backwardness and China for feudalism and reaction.

Chinese today are strangers to the writings of the past. In fact, our tradition contains a lot of outstanding ideas and materials that you simply won't find in the West. As a vast country with a long, unbroken history, China built up its own, unique systems of managing resources and personnel. The imperial bureaucratic system was admired around the world. It inspired the British civil service system in the 17th century, and that in turn was imitated in Germany, which takes great pride in its civil service system.

Chinese-style management traced back: Chinese-style management was exported overseas, and now it's coming back to us. We had these valuable ideas we weren't using, and the Japanese took them, digested them for us and then sold them back to us at a high price. Why didn't we revise and organize them directly ourselves? Maybe the way Chinese studies is taught in our schools is too narrow. It's always leaned heavily toward poetry and moral cultivation, to the neglect of social and political issues.

Why not study the writings of Ku Yen-wu and Wang Fu-chih, for instance, who were determined to find out why the Ming Dynasty had fallen to the Manchus? They pondered the problem constantly and traveled all over the country, and their words were written in blood and tears. The pain of China's fall meant more to them than a loss of their country--it meant the loss of traditional culture.

Or look at the national constitution written by Chia Yi and Tung Chung-shu during the Han Dynasty. The most marvelous part of it is the promotion system. Each district with a population of over 200,000 would recommend a worthy official to the central government each year. The Han Dynasty relied on scholars to bring stability to the country. Promoting people on the basis of wisdom and virtue--it's much more enlightened than the electoral system now.

I recently reread On Salt and Iron, a great discussion on fiscal policy held in 81 B.C., six years after the death of Han Wu-ti. It went on for over five months and involved the imperial censor and more than 60 leading scholars. The level of debate was much, much higher than that in our Legislative Yuan. People don't understand the ancients. We think they were backward, but actually we're the ones who are ignorant.

Looking at Leadership Through History, by Hsu Cho-yun, is basically a collection of lectures in which Professor Hsu introduces ancient Chinese thinking on leadership to business people who may not be familiar with Chinese history and culture, writing in an objective, readable style.

It wouldn't be fair to criticize the book from the standpoint of a professional historian. But any attempt by Chinese people on Taiwan to explain Chinese history to the business world using their own perspective is worth affirming. In particular, it's very appropriate that Professor Hsu chooses Hsun-tzu, the Confucian, and Han Fei-tzu, the Legalist, to set up a theoretical structure for Chinese-style management.

Confucianists and Legalists: The Confucianists and the Legalists are a single entity in terms of their academic source. Of the four main schools of thought in ancient China--Confucianism, Mohism, Taoism and Legalism--Confucianism and Mohism were the two most prestigious at first. The Confucianists were on the right wing and the Mohists on the left. The Confucianists stressed rites and ritual, the rectification of names and self-cultivation. The Mohists' basic standpoint was that of the working classes. They were against ritual and aggression and advocated peace, equality and the Will of Heaven. The Mohists were like socialists; they were unhappy with the status quo. The Confucianists were pragmatists; they advocated gradual reform and they wanted to build a "kingly government."

The Legalists spun off from the Confucianists during the Warring States period. They paid too much attention to names and neglected the reason for paying attention to ritual. The more extreme among the Mohists became Taoists, who completely denied reality and advocated a return to nature. Neither Taoism nor Mohism is very suitable for governing a nation, so the mainstream of political thought in China was occupied by Confucianism and Legalism.

My field of study is the philosophy of law and the state. Actually, in examining the origins of the state from a theoretical point of view, you never get very far away from what Hsun-tzu said over two millennia ago. My point is that Hsun-tzu is a much stronger thinker than either Machiavelli or Hobbes, who are considered the founders of modern political science. It's just that we of a later generation haven't lived up to our ancestors by adapting their thought to the new environment produced after the contact of Eastern and Western culture. It's a pity.

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Author: Hsu Cho-yun

Publisher: Hong's Academy for Culture and Economics

Price: NT$170

Pages: 214

 

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