Management Practices Of The School Of Sun Tzu

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Penglai, depiction of one of the mythical islands ( Public Domain ), and Qin Shi Huang in a 19th century portrait ( Public Domain );Deriv.

Management Practices Of The School Of Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu's Art of War was, one is told, written by an ancient Chinese soldier - except there is no evidence that there ever was a General Sun Tzu. In general, the commentary on Art of War just guesses when, where and who he served, and when he sat down and crafted this remarkable book. And the book? Well it is not at all about war. There are no military instructions, no weapons, no wounded, and no loss of life. Conflict is condemned again and again as the worst possible option for achieving objectives. One is instructed how to achieve results without conflict. Conflict signifies failure.

A Chinese bamboo book, copy of The Art of War. ( CC BY 2.0 )

A Chinese bamboo book, copy of The Art of War. ( CC BY 2.0 )

The Art of War title is a mistranslation of the title Bing-fa that, 2,300 years ago, meant ‘The Art of Diplomacy’. The Tao Te Ching, a work created at the same time provides the vision and values upon which the Bing-fa principles and methods are built. These volumes are two of the greatest ever works on strategic management and planning. With this understanding, one is able to examine the possible application of the works, and what was achieved. Those results are evident in 221 BC, when Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China, ended the 200-year-long Warring States period in less than ten years. These states were brought together through craft and persuasion, into a remarkable nation whose structure remains intact to this day. China’s first emperor discovered how one successfully manages organizations, and relations between organizations without loss, and without conflict. Bing-fa conveys remarkable possibilities for contemporary inter-personal, inter-organizational and international relations.

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