Ambidextrous organization in harmony: A multi-case exploration of the value of HeXie management theory

Xuanwei Cao*, Xiaojun Zhang, Youmin Xi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper is a follow-up to the authors' first introductive article on the emerging He-Xie management theory (HXMT), aiming to help readers better understand the concept of He-Xie as well as the value of HXMT through several selected cases. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the value of HXMT in helping achieve the objectives of an ambidextrous organization in harmony. Design/methodology/approach: The potential value and explaining power of HXMT in helping achieve effective management in organizations is explored through three diversified cases in Chinese contexts. The research is implemented through analyzing the three core constructs of HXMT, i.e. HeXie theme (HT), He principle (HP) and Xie principle (XP) and HeXie coupling (HC), as well as the consistence and alignment of them in the three cases. Findings: In all cases, the authors found the existence of HC throughout various organizational development stages. In various organizational contexts, HT could be observed in guiding managerial activities. Through identifying periodically emerging important HT and taking related activities by following the principles of XP (reflecting optimization-oriented activities for efficiency in practice) and HP (reflecting uncertainty-reducing activities for efficacy in practice) accordingly, organizations could reorient themselves to avoid rigidity and organizational sclerosis on the one hand and accommodate changing environmental conditions on the other. The value of HXMT is embodied in its ambidexterity capability on applying HP and XP interactively across various organizational contexts. Originality/value: The acceptance of the emerging HXMT in a wider scope must be grounded on an appropriate understanding of its value. This paper analyses retrospectively the management practices of some very different kinds of organizations towards the objective of harmony in organization. The authors' analysis could inspire managers to consider applying HXMT in their management practice towards an ambidextrous organization in harmony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-163
Number of pages18
JournalChinese Management Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • China
  • Management theory
  • Organizational culture


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