SAM Seminar: The problem of coherence in communication strategy: lessons from military theory

When:23 Sep 2014, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Robert Webster building, lecture theatre 327
Who:Paul Ryder (Director, Ryder Consulting)
SAM Seminar - Ryder

Everything in strategy is very simple, but that does not mean that everything is very easy.
Carl von Clausewitz

Since strategy is conceptually founded on principles first developed in the context of military conflict, it is surprising that the academic community has all but ignored the relationship between the military meaning of strategy and strategy as developed and mobilised in other fields of engagement. A possible reason for this is a prejudice regarding those many business books whose opportunistic authors sense a relationship between military manoeuvre and action on commercial ‘battlefields’. While such associations are often as crude as they are clichéd, the resulting prejudice is unfortunate to the extent that deep-seated synergies of strategic (less tactical) principle do exist. The error made by these authors, then, is not so much one of intuition as of dubious analogy. In terms of deeper, shared, dynamics and synergies, in On War Carl von Clausewitz (who, along with Hannibal, has been called the ‘father of strategy’) argues that war should be likened to business competition or state policy. In fact, any combative or competitive field provides fertile comparative ground, and the present investigation considers how a key underlying principle of military strategy—the need for symmetry of objectives, concepts, and resources—might be profitably applied to the commercial communications milieu.


Paul Ryder is Director of Ryder Consulting Services, and Co-Editor of Southern Semiotic Review. His research addresses the immutable rules of military strategy and their application to commercial enterprise (including commercial communication initiatives), with a focus on the dynamics of strategy. Paul also publishes in the areas of war and representation, medical practice and communication, literature and technology, and rhetoric and power.


SAM Seminar Series 2014
Convenor, Collin Chua – c.chua@unsw.edu.au

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