The cultural roots of compositional capability in China: balanced moderation

  • Steven Shijin Zhou
  • Peter Ping Li
  • Abby Jingzi ZhouEmail author
  • Shameen Prashantham


A large number of Chinese firms lack the resources for having competitive advantages. Under this severe constraint, such firms are forced to find new paths toward developing certain competitive advantages, including the ability to combine ordinary resources into novel competitive advantages, which is referred to as compositional capability. Such a special capability underlying novel competitive advantages is related to certain cultural factors, such as the Chinese cultural tradition in the case of China. However, the potential links between compositional capability and the Chinese cultural tradition remain poorly understood and largely unspecified. This paper responds to the call for more research on identifying relevant cultural factors by explicating the inherent connections between compositional capability and the Chinese cultural value of balanced moderation.


Compositional capability Cultural root Balanced moderation China 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71732007). We thank Professor Mike Peng (Consulting Editor) and two anonymous reviewers for constructive guidance. We are grateful to Professor Arie Lewin, Professor Martin Lockett and Dr. Yi Ruan for their valuable comments of previous versions of the paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nottingham University Business School ChinaUniversity of Nottingham Ningbo ChinaNingboChina
  2. 2.Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL)Yongda International TowerShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Copenhagen Business SchoolCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)ShanghaiChina

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