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Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion


We introduce management and spirituality scholars to the “knack” passages from the c. 4th century B.C.E. text, the Zhuangzi. The knack passages are parables about low status figures, such as wheelwrights, furniture makers and cooks, whose actions offer insights into the spirituality of ordinary work and, we argue, of entrepreneurship. Such non-corporate settings are lesser-studied domains for spirituality. Ancient Chinese writings have been noticed by spirituality and management writers but we call for deeper scholarly textual attention. We seek also to model more attention to the renaissance in scholarship on classical China. More ambitiously, we hope to show that these passages are not only germane but worthy of careful consideration. Our efforts reflect the influence of Slingerland's (2003) study of “effortless action” as a central soteriological goal in ancient China.


This is the post-peer-reviewed and corrected version of the article, originally published in Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 2008, 5(1), 29-55.

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