The Art of War by Sun Tzu
The essay is an in-depth book review of “The Art of War” written by Sun Tzu with first edition appearing between 400-320BC. It is a publication of Rupa & Co. Sun Tzu lived in china and was an adviser whose philosophy and strategies did play a major role in helping China Empire strongly maintained its stability in the province. It is worth noting that the book is a translation of the strategies and plans. It has been argued that the book does not only give clear history on the way war in the region was being handled but the principles are fully applicable in the world of business. It is worth noting that historically, volumes of literatures have been written regarding wars and the related consequences. However, the total amount of literature that deeply examines the strategies or plans, tactics are indeed few.
The book written by Sun Tzu is a unique one as it covers the later issues and not just war as a phenomenon. Art of War is comprised of 13 good chapters. In these chapters there are clear sections in which there are concerns relating to proper acquisitions, training and treatment of those that are subsequently engaged to do the work. The paper thus seeks to draw from the book observations regarding how best to optimize the human resource contributions that subsequently facilitate organizational success. Lastly it compares and contrasts his views then with the world as we see it today through our lives experiences and academic exercises. It is worth noting that for an organization to be successful, although it might have all the resource it needs, the most important one that will play a significant role in propelling strategies and plans as well as formulating the same is the human resource.
In the book, the author did emphasize the significance of positioning military strategies. Similarly, the decisions to opposition the army opts to fundamentally rest on two main things; objectives conditions in the physical environment as well as the subjective beliefs of other individuals. To him plans are nothing if not accompanied by quick decisions or responses. At the time, he clearly understood the uncertainty brought about by competitions (Griffith, 1963).
Brief chapter summery
In chapter one titled estimates, laying plans or calculations the author clearly states that war is an important part in development of a country and for that matter it must be fought. Central issues need to be critically evaluated and include seasons, terrain, leadership, management, climate, human influence and philosophy. An in depth examination of all these attributes lay ground for one to evaluate the chances of winning a war. Although war must be fought as it I a grave matter, the decision to engage i9n it opt to be thorough (Griffith, 1963).
The second chapter, Waging War/The Challenge covers war economy. The author advices that prolonging war is dangerous since it will be expensive. Having in mind that war’s main objective is victory and it will be rational to use enemies’ resources to help cut down the expenses of war. Protracted type of war has plunged many nations into trouble.
Attack by Stratagem, offensive strategy or the plan of attack is the third chapter. It is better to capture the enemy than engage in destructions. The author clearly makes it known that excellence comes when one manages in breaking the resistance force of the enemy without engaging in confrontation that will lead shedding of blood (Griffith, 1963). This is done by recoiling enemies’ strategies, separating them from their allies. It is worth noting that all these comes defining source of strength as a unity rather than size. This emphasizes importance of team work. Important factors to be considered include attack, strategy, alliances, armies and cities.
In chapter four titled positioning or disposition the author emphasizes importance of acquiring vital information that will help in attaining success. Winners of war are deemed excellent if they do win with ease. The teaching in this chapter is that it is important to recognize strategic opportunities for oneself and not creating the same for the opponent.
Chapter five titled energy or direction is an explanation of how to build the morale and momentum of the army before engaging in war. Issues relating to timing as well as creativities are of significance in this stage of momentum building. Additionally, dividing the numbers of soldiers, managing as well as organizing the entire team or soldier coupled with effective communication. There is need to always use various mechanisms to ensure that the army is not shaken (Griffith, 1963).
In weakness and strengths which constitute chapter six, the author lets us know that the person who will be the first to enter the battle field has higher chances of succeeding. Thus imposing the will to the enemy is a strategy that works well as compared to sitting and waiting for the enemy to do the same. Efforts to subdue the enemy include starving him as well as harassing him. Additionally, he advices that to be successful, one need to make moves to places that are least expected by the enemy.
According to Griffith, 1963 maneuvering which is chapter seven depicts how commander are given the go a head by the sovereign. He is responsible for harmonizing as well as blending the diverse individuals who constitute his army. To maneuver the enemy is possible when one has a discipline force. The author noted that pushing the army in forced marches with the aim of snatching one advantage may contribute to losing the battle. The next chapter talks of varying the tactics. This comes with being flexible in making decisions which is attributed to success.
Chapter nine tiled army on the march is where the author clearly advises that the moving army need to with in the shortest time possible to pass through mountains and staying on the sunny side and on higher grounds. In the next chapter dubbed terrain, the author manages to group grounds based on the nature. These include grounds that are accessible, entangled, temporizing, narrow passes and precipitous heights.
In nine terrains, there is a clear explanation of nine crucial situations that dictates the success of an army. All these are aimed the comers so that he can bring forth an army that is strong enough geared to nothing but attaining success. Issues succinctly covered include “employment of troops and may be classified as dispersive, frontier, key, communication, focal, serious, difficult, encircled, and death” (Griffith, 1963).
The last two chapters the attack by fire and use of spy in that order tackles various use of weapons how to respond and finally the importance of having a sophisticated channel of information sharing.
Optimize the human resource contributions
Successful organization despite the fact that has enough resources, the major attributable factor to their success is the effectiveness of how the human resources are managed and handled. By definition, human resource management has been thought as a process that entails planning, implementing, managing recruits, selecting them, offering them training, as well as issues relating to developing an organization through human beings. The major aim of this concept is to fully optimize the effectiveness of workers and at the same time improving the workplace environment and treating them in the best human way possible.
From the book The Art of War, there are numerous contributions that the author brings forth as being among the practices that are indeed vital for an organization or group of individual’s to be successful. It is worth noting that the art of planning which is done by human being in preparation to battles is one of the significant strategies that will ensure that the aim is attained with little hustles. The process will play a major role in ensuring that there is no single step that is skipped. Additionally planning is where one can weigh the chances of winning (Griffith, 1963).
More importantly, the issue regarding team work as brought out by the author has a lot of relevance even in present world of doing business. The author recognizes that without joining hands the army can at no time emerge as victors. To him togetherness and teams work was a major recipe for winning battles. With this view in mind, it thus goes without saying that the unique characteristics and capabilities of each and every individual are vital in successful contribution o a successful organization. However, it is cautioned that there is need to clearly establish where and when team work need to be employed.
As suggested by Griffith, 1963 the chapters which adequately covered issues relating to information sharing via sophisticated mechanisms is equally important in determining success of any given firm. It is the general belief and even practical that information is power. When individuals adequately share information across the bond, the decision that will be made will be rational as they are purely based on facts. Additionally when information is shred between and among individuals within an organization, there are higher chances of the ultimate decision made being supported by the majority. This ensures that there are no wrangles within the company hence no efforts and other resources being wasted. For that matter, it is rational for any organization to have in place mechanisms where the employees are in a position to air their views as well a get feedback on whatever issue that regards their relationship with their employers.
Additionally, Sun Tzu caution against being rigid. He advocates for leaders to have in place room that will accommodate flexibility in whatever they will be engaging in. It is worth mentioning that there come situations where by the initial plans might not work and there will be need for the relevant authorities to indeed change and adopt new ones or simply modify the existing ones (Griffith, 1963). On the same line of thinking, the author identifies the diverse inclusion of individual to the army. For that matter, he brings forth the need to fully create a blend that will be successful in attaining the predetermined goals and objectives. This can be attained by harmonizing the diversity that exists. It is worth mentioning that such diversity in an organization brings with it more advantages than disadvantages if rationally handled.
As early as at his era, Sun Tzu already realized that human work with emotions and feelings. Although there was no such word as motivation used in the article, there is no doubt that he was referring to ensuring that individuals in any organization need to be maintained at higher level of morale for the organization to reap from the efforts that will be made by team members. Pushing people to do things is totally unacceptable. Interestingly, it is also brought forth that ensuring that one passes through the mountains within the shortest time possible when metaphorically taken can mean that organizations need to quickly implement decisions timely without the fair of it failing. Lastly and more importantly, the author advice on hiring of competent individuals will definitely contribute to success of an organization. He added that having a discipline lot is of paramount significance. Individuals who excel in their duties need to be rewarded.
Comparing and contrasting Sun Tzu and what is happening currently with regards to HRM
Strictly speaking, when one try to distinguish and compare the views held by Sun Tzu some two thousand years ago and what is currently happening, there is very little differences on issues pertaining human resource management. However, at present, the only differences on what he held during his time have been slightly modified to suit the existing scenarios.
It is worth noting that the issue of team work which he emphasized is still being seen as a central focus in determining successful organization through management of the human resource. However, currently, there are views on who to include in a team, importance of the team how and when to use teams. Additionally, issue relating to morale, discipline, flexibility, hiring of competent persons, to mention but a few is still; emphasized currently (Griffith, 1963).
The only differences between the views held by the author and those at present with regards to human resource is that in the later situation, technological innovation seem to shape everything.
From the review of the book Art of War by Sun Tzu, it is evident that there are a number of cautions he brought forth with regards to managing human resource contribution to a successful organization. Among the issues that will help best optimize human resource contribution that will subsequently facilitate organizational success include hiring of highly qualified individual, having in place a sophisticated channel of communication, making decision faster, allowing for flexibility, not pushing individuals to work, encouraging team work, allowing for career development and training to mention but a few. When the views held by the authors are compared to those currently held, indeed there are more similarity than differences. The only major difference is that the current views are actively shaped by technological innovation.