Art of War: Theory and Practice of Management

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Katrina Rose S. Mendoza
MGT 201: Theory and Practice of Management
Book Analysis: Art of War as applied to PLDT

Founded on November 28, 1928, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) is the leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines. Its mission is to be the preferred full service provider of voice, video and data at the most attractive levels of price, service quality, content and coverage, thereby bringing maximum benefit to the Company’s stakeholders.

When PLDT was incorporated and given franchise to establish and operate telephone services in the country, a typhoon had just ravaged Eastern Visayas, Bicol Peninsula, and Samar. The ability to communicate amongst loved ones and across the Philippines became crucial. Sadly, phone networks then were like disconnected intercom systems and you could only call people within your own small city. Filipinos were disconnected from neighboring towns, disconnected from friends in the other island and, needless to say, disconnected from the rest of the world. It was under this scenario that the law was signed giving birth to PLDT which hoped to achieve to interconnect these “intercom” systems into a seamless nationwide network that would facilitate communication and delivery of services to people, as well as spur economic development in the countryside.

Under the American owners of PLDT, many small phone companies were acquired to speed up the rollout connection of different phone systems all over the country. The management of PLDT was then set towards linking Filipinos to each other and, more importantly to the world. By 1968, a new era of PLDT leadership was ushered in as it finally became a Filipino-controlled corporation when Ramon Cojuangco and his group of Filipino industrialists and businessmen bought the controlling stake of General Telephone And Electronics Corporation of New York. It was a symbol of national pride and a moment of triumph for Filipinos. Under Cojuangco’s leadership, PLDT embarked on expansion campaigns that led to more Filipinos owning and benefiting from phones. The late 1990’s was a time of formidable challenges for PLDT, especially after the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Inauspicious as it may seem at the time, however, Manuel V. Pangilinan of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd. saw a great opportunity in taking control of PLDT. Its entry brought in a new culture and new enterprise.

It’s all part of PLDT’s culture of innovation to bring its operation to world-class standards and become the best telecommunications company in the region. Its fixed line business offers local exchange, international long distance, national long distance, data communications, and miscellaneous services. The company provides wireless service primarily through Smart Communications, a nationwide Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operator. Through ePLDT, a much smaller but fast-growing subsidiary, the firm operates an Internet data center, five call centers, and an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Through its three principal business groups – fixed line, wireless, and information and communication technology – PLDT offers the largest and most diversified range of telecommunications services across the country’s most extensive fiber optic backbone and fixed line, cellular and satellite networks.

Looking at the military strategies enumerated by Sun Tzu in its masterpiece, The Art of War, I found similar techniques currently implemented in the PLDT Group that control internal, as well as external factors.  Sun Tzu said that when you lay down a law, see that it is not disobeyed; if it is disobeyed, the offender must be put to death. At PLDT, there are established policies and procedures, and other rules (e.g., corporate governance) that must be followed.  Non-compliance to company policies and procedures are reported to Industrial Relations of Human Resources Group for further investigation and appropriate disciplinary actions from...
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