Sun Tzu and the Art of War; A Review of Control in the Information Age

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Business




Nugawela, G. (2002). Sun Tzu and the art of (business) war: a review of control in the information age. In: Lethbridge, N. (Ed.). E-conomy- from here to where? 3rd international We-B conference. Churchlands, Australia: Edith Cowan University School of Management Information Systems We-B Centre.


In recent times, much recognition and acknowledgement has been given to the oldest military treatise in the world, Sun Tzu's The Art of War. (Tzu). This manual written in China centuries ago can be said to contain the foundations on which all military strategies are based. It is proposed that the achievement of Sun Tzu's The Art of War transcends the military context and offers the basis for an insight into the nature of modern business practices, especially among those societies that are influenced by the Chinese culture such as Japan, Taiwan and Korea. (Tung 1994; De Mente 1996; Yujun 1999) Sun Tzu's writing provides a valuable platform for exploring the exact nature of the analogy between business and war and in particular Information Warfare. In doing so, it provides a useful framework for interpreting the recent economic trend of the rise of Japan and other Asian economies. However, its generalisation to the current technological environment is questionable. This review examines two central principles of the book - intelligence and security- and critiques their relevance in the light of current Information and Communication Technology (ICT).