1st Edition

Buddhist and Taoist Systems Thinking
The Natural Path to Sustainable Transformation

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 14, 2021
ISBN 9780367478964
July 14, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
210 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

USD $39.95

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Book Description

Buddhist and Taoist Systems Thinking explores a radical new conception of business and management. It is grounded on the reconnection of humans with nature as the new competitive advantage for living organizations and entrepreneurs that aspire to regenerate the economy and drive a positive impact on the planet, in the context of the Anthropocene. Organizations, today, struggle in finding a balance between maximizing profits and generating value for their stakeholders, the environment and the society at large. This happens in a paradigm shift characterized by unprecedented levels of exponential change and the emergence of disruptive technologies. Adaptability, thus, is becoming the new business imperative. How can, then, entrepreneurs and organizations constantly adapt and, at the same time, design the sustainable futures they’d like?

This book, for the first time, explores the benefits of applying Buddhist and Taoist Systems Thinking to sustainable management. Grounded in Taoist and Zen Buddhist philosophies, it offers a modern scientific perspective fundamentally based on the concepts of bio-logical adaptability and lifefulness amidst complexity and constant change. The book introduces the new concept of the Gaia organization as a living organism that consciously helps perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. It is subject to the natural laws of transformation and the principles of oneness, emptiness, impermanence, balance, self-regulation and harmonization. Readers will find applied Eastern systems theories such as the Yin-Yang and the Five Elements operationalized through practical methodologies and tools such as T-Qualia and the Zen Business model. They are aimed at guiding Gaia organizations and entrepreneurs in leading sustainable transformations and qualifying economic growth.

The book offers a vital toolkit for purpose-driven practitioners, management researchers, students, social entrepreneurs, systems evaluators and change-makers to reinvent, create and mindfully manage sustainable and agile organizations that drive systemic transformation.

Table of Contents

1. The emergence of the new business paradigm: from the Ego-system to the Eco-system

2. TAO 4.0: the emergence of adaptive thinking amidst exponential change and complexity

3. The quest for balance and harmony: the Yin-Yang and the Five Elements

4. T-Qualia, a bio-logic of learning for transformation: the Eastern systems approach to the process of knowing

5. The Zen Business model: from metaphysics to sustainable management

6. Building the GAIA organization: principles and practice

7. Designing the GAIA startup: practical guidelines

8. Managing abundance beyond the triple bottom line

9. Business mindfulness: evaluation for systems transformation

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Josep M. Coll is a professor of Strategy, Sustainability and Innovation at EADA Business School, visiting professor at Yonsei University in South Korea, and research associate at Maastricht School of Management. He works as an independent consultant for a wide range of private and public organizations, such as the European Commission and the United Nations. In the UN system, he co-led the first corporate developmental evaluation and adaptive management movement in UNFPA. He regularly speaks internationally on sustainable transformation and coaches organizations, managers and entrepreneurs in transitioning to the new business paradigm.


"Transformation: what it is, why it matters, how to achieve it, and meaningfully evaluate it. That's the territory of this book. Systems understandings can propel transformation, but to do so must cut through the cacophonous demands for more rigorous methods to pursue the challenge of engaging in more rigorous thinking. Drawing on ancient and enduring wisdom, this book illuminates the pathway to sustainability where what is at stake is nothing less than the future of humanity on Earth." - Michael Q. Patton, founder of Utilization-Focused Evaluation, author of Blue Marble Evaluation and former president of the American Evaluation Association

"Coll’s groundbreaking book builds a solid bridge for you to connect the inexplicable and impenetrable world of Eastern philosophies with the wicked and vexatious challenges of sustainable management. From Chapter Five, you can ride on his Zen Business Wheel to roam back inside the mysterious domain of Taoism and Buddhism and forward to apply its wisdoms to your triple business bottom lines, principles, and practices. With this new book, you no longer will feel that sustainable management is akin to teenage sex: everyone talks about doing it; everyone thinks everyone else is doing it; but no one is doing it well." - Yuwei Shi, Academic Director, Blue Pioneers Program at University of California, Santa Cruz

"This book argues that emerging economies contribute to global economic growth, bringing a wealth of wisdom that is essential to fix capitalism. From a business and holistic management perspective, Coll’s new book explores a novel interpretation and enlightening application of Eastern systemic philosophies to build a more conscious, harmonious, regenerative and inclusive economy in turbulent times." - Lourdes Casanova, Director of Emerging Markets Institute at Cornell University, S.C. Johnson School of Management