Key Difference – Yin vs Yang
Yin and Ying, though there is a difference between them, are two universal forces whose harmonious existence is a prerequisite for the sustainable well-being of the complete universe as per Chinese belief. The difference between Yin and Yang is what distinguishes the two seemingly opposite forces. However, yin and yang are interdependent on each other so that they both can flourish. Prominent examples for the duality symbols of yin and yang are light & dark, fire & water, male & female, etc. The key difference between Yin and Yang is that the Yin is the negative or passive or feminine principle in nature while Yang is the positive or active or masculine principle in nature as per Chinese philosophy. The philosophy of yin and yang can be applied for all disciplines. In management, yin and yang have much relevance regards to human behavior. Leadership traits and human resource management can make use of yin and yang philosophy to garner more from the respective subjects.
What is Yin?
In Chinese philosophy, Yin is the negative or passive or feminine principle in nature. Yin is more engaging, more inclusive, and more like a nursing care (Mintzberg, 2001). Yin nature of management is far-sighted and aims at long-term penetration.
What is Yang?
Yang is the positive or active or masculine principle in nature as per Chinese philosophy. Yang is described by Mintzberg (2001) as more aggressive and more interventionist. The yang face of managing is masculine in style and resembles a perception of being a great leader. Yang nature of management is short sighted and aims at short-term penetration.
What is the Importance of Yin and Yang for Management?
Organizations need to identify the nature of their business and choose their managers wisely. For example, for a direct marketing (DRTV) firm, yang can be the ideal while yin will be more preferable for a policy making institution. Through yin and yang, we symbolize the dual characters and attributes related to leadership and human behavior.
Whatever the differences between yin and yang, they cannot exist in separation. Both forces have to be in pair and have to work together to maximize the benefits of management. Mintzberg (2001) mentions yin and yang as “in the duality is found the unity”. There have to be light and shadows if humans are to live. Similarly, in management, both aggression and compassion have to exist to overcome troubled situations. If harmony can be achieved when yin and yang are balanced, such philosophies need to be utilized in management for re-balancing.
Yang nature of management seems to be more representative of leadership traits of present management. Yin seems to be neglected. But, things are changing as yin style of leaders also are appearing in today’s knowledge oriented societies. The challenge would be to create harmony between the two and to progress with a mixed style of leadership. It can be termed as a dialectical approach towards leadership and management.
What is the Difference between Yin and Yang?
Definition of Yin and Yang
Yin: In Chinese philosophy, Yin is the negative or passive or feminine principle in nature.
Yang: Yang is the positive or active or masculine principle in nature as per Chinese philosophy.
Characteristics of Yin and Yang
Yin: Yin is of conservationist culture. A conservationist is more of engaging rather than interrupting.
Yang: Yang is of interventionist culture. Interventionist advocates intervention in order for smooth functioning of affairs which is more a political tactic.
Yin: Yin is more engaging and inclusive. Yin is better suited to work inside the organization (doing, detailing, etc.)
Yang: Yang is more aggressive and intrusive. Yang is better suited to work outside the organization such as networking, promoting etc.
Yin: Yin has a very subtle and compassionate approach, similar to a nursing care of a patient which has an emotional attribute of doing things.
Yang: Yang, on the other hand, is like medical care where individual’s emotionaland mental attributes are not taken to account.
Yin: Yin symbolizes communicating through methods of image and feel.
Yang: Yang symbolizes communicating through methods of words and drama.
Yin: Yin reflects or symbolizes dark, mysterious, passive, and feminine aspects.
Yang: Yang reflects openness, clear, light, active, and masculine aspects.
Though such differences exist between yin and yang, I would like to reiterate that yin and yang do not operate in isolation, it’s a pair or couple which needs to be understood. Both have to be together for excellence.
References: Mintzberg, H. (2001). The Yin and the Yang of Managing. Organizational Dynamics. Vol. 29 (4), pg. 306 – 312. Image Courtsey: “U+262F” by Sarang – Own SVG drawing by uploader. (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons