A word strategy first appears in a military strategy text of master Sun Tzu ‘The art of war” in 500BC.
The origin of the word strategy in French first appears in the early 19th century as stratégie which refers to a “set of coordinated actions, skilful operations, manoeuvres to achieve a specific goal”. While in Greek as stratēgos means “army leader”.
Oxford dictionary defines ‘strategy, as ‘The art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle.’
Antonyms for strategy is interesting and it reveals its negative character. The antonym is honesty or openness. That means strategy involves some secret and dirty tricks.
Similarly, the word ‘business’ first recorded in mid 14th century from busyness (busy + ness) in Northumbrian old English as bisignes as (bisig + nes), replaced by busyness (state of being much occupied or engaged). The antonyms of business are entertainment, fun and unemployed. It seems antonyms of business are more interesting.
likewise, the English word management evolved in the 17th and 18th centuries from the French word ménagement and the Italian maneggiare (to handle, especially tools or a horse).
For management the Antonym is employees. I think this comes from the antonym of the employers (management that is closed to the word employers as a synonym).
The analysis of words and their origin tell us a more interesting story. If a business person knows well aware of the words and their origin, it would be more helpful to lead the business towards its mission. For example, a knowledge of the word strategy which has originated from military, it reveals it real character. That gives business persons an idea of ethical, moral and legitimate practices.
From this investigations, one thing becomes clearer that business is as like a war (competition) and businesses must keep their tactics, operation, resources secret to their competitors.
Also, businesses should acquire the core essence of strategy and equip with strategic tools, such as long-term commitment, flexible approach in an uncertain business environment, proactive in planning and visionary management.
I want to summarise this article with Master Sun Tzu’s famous quote; “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
― Sun Tzu
1. Définitions lexicographiques [archive] et étymologiques [archive] de « stratégie » du Trésor de la langue française informatisé, sur le site du Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales
3. Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.