Chinese Post80s Generational Resilience: Chengyu (成语) as Communicative Resources for Adaptation and Change

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resilience, chengyu, career, Chinese Post80s, organizational communication

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The combined forces of China’s reforms, resurgent traditional values, and problematic labor market have led the Chinese Post80s generation to reconstruct their careers. Drawing on 33 in-depth interviews, this study examines how Post80s professionals communicatively constitute resilience as they utilize and transform meanings of chengyu (成语, Chinese four-word idiom encapsulating shared values). Guided by chengyu, Post80s construct resilience processes from temporal (past-present-future), relational (self-other-collective), and introspective perspectives (passion-practice). As discursive cultural resources of resilience, chengyu legitimize choices, frame actions, inspire ways of managing change and expectations, and offer comfort in difficult times. This study expands resilience research to a non-Western context and highlights how cultural and generational discourses can mobilize agency in the constitution of resilience. Findings offer practical implications in promoting and cultivating resilience.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

International Journal of Business Communication, v. 58, issue 3, p. 410-429