Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 262–269 | Cite as

A study on the application of laozi ’s thoughts on educational leadership and management

  • Lian-shiung Wen
  • Kevin P. Hwang


This paper attempts to apply historical methods to help understand the relationship between the philosophy espoused in the works of Laozi or Tao De Ching and educational leadership. The objective is to study the thought of Laozi regarding leadership, to identify ideas and solutions that can be applied in modern educational management, as well as to provide a new definition and values to the ideas of Laozi. Laozi lived in ancient times, meaning that the works describing his thought are difficult to understand. The present study is primarily based on English sources written on Laozi by Ju-Chou Yang and on the commentary on Laozi by Bi Wang. Additionally, this article also refers to and compares other comments on the ideas of Laozi regarding management. This study finds that Laozi had varied ideas on management and philosophy. Laozi ’s views regarding organization are still relevant today. He stressed flexibility and the importance of adapting to the environment. As regards leadership, Laozi emphasized non-action, softness, humility, calmness and the elimination of desire. Furthermore, in his art of employment, Laozi insisted that leaders must overcome their personal likes and dislikes in relation to individuals to ensure the full utilization of their potential.

Key words

non-action softness humility calmness elimination of desire 


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Transportation & Communication Management ScienceGraduate School of Institute of Telecommunications Management, National Cheng Kung UniversityTaiwan
  2. 2.National Cheng KungUniversity TaiwanTaiwan

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