19 horizontal lines and 19 vertical lines make 361 points, the battle field in which black and white compete fiercely to occupy more territory. This war is called Baduk.

Three representative elements of Baduk: competition for larger share, efficient utilization of scarce resources, and various transactions to pursue interests, strikingly overlap with features of management science.

Samsung executives invited Professor Jeong Soohyun of the Department of Baduk Studies at Myoungji University for a special lecture on July 11. It was entitled: “Finding Management Wisdom from Baduk.”

Prof. Jeong said, “The rapid development of Samsung in the global market can be likened to that of Korean baduk, and companies can be likened to big groups of stones on a baduk board in that both global and local views must be considered simultaneously when making decisions.”

Also a professional 9 dan player in baduk, Prof. Jeong advised Samsung executives to learn management wisdom from baduk, and bring these lessons to actual business practices.

“In baduk, there is a saying that you should not let your group grow too heavy. This is also true for companies that they should be flexible. Also, strong players are always ready to sacrifice a small group or a part of a big group when it is needed. Managers, too, should be able to do the same.” Prof. Jeong added.

“In any times, you need to respect your previous moves, just as all positions in an organization need to function effectively.”

The importance of the decision-making process was mentioned as well. “When you play baduk, you make decisions before each move, minding your objectives, plans, and future predictions. This is similar to the process managers go through when they make decisions.”

They are also similar in the fact that no player stays at the top forever. 

“The top baduk player is often bumped by a player who has relative strengths compared to the player, and when this happens the top player should be able to change her playing style. You cannot stick to your own style permanently and expect to stay at the top.” A particularly vivid example is Cho Hunhyun, a legendary professional baduk player. Cho used to overwhelm his opponents with his light and speedy moves, but as his rival mastered this style, Cho changed his style dramatically to an aggressive one.

Last, Prof. Jeong mentioned that many baduk terms are being used in business today. Baduk terms that mean “opening”, “countdown”, “sequence”, “brilliant move”, “bad move”, and so forth frequently appear in business writing. “It’s because a great deal of management wisdom resides in baduk.”

Original Article Here (Translated by Hajin Lee)


Professor Jeong Soohyun, Picture from http://news.heraldcorp.com/view.php?ud=20120913000193&md=20120916003453_E