An adversary is a person or something that is competing with you for the same price or for a spot at a higher ranking. An adversary can also be referred to as a rival in your line of business, profession, or even sport.
Having a business adversary may seem like something from a cartoon or a white-collar crime film, but the reality is not so dramatic or whimsical. Business adversaries exist everywhere, in every country, and are practically unavoidable. At worst, a business adversary is someone who continually tries to sabotage your business operations. At best, a business adversary is someone with whom you maintain a healthy competition. Either way, because the US government outlaws monopolies on markets, there will always be competition. And where there's competition, there's bound to be an adversary. Every now and then, business adversaries team up to become allies.
There are also adversaries within employee circles. These could be two employees vying for the same promotion or constantly getting on each other's nerves. To reference the US version of "The Office," think Jim versus Dwight.
Political adversaries are also very common and tend to be publically more hostile. You can always tell a political adversary by watching campaign ads, listening to media outlets, and watching debates. Political adversaries are generally more destructive than business adversaries.
Real World Example of Adversary
One of the best examples of political adversaries is very familiar to today's modern era: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In the 2016 political race, the Republican and Democratic candidates could not be farther apart from each other in political leaning. A lot of commentaries thrown from both sides ended up creating a bigger rift in the American people. It was a close election, but ultimately Trump won. However, the adversarial approach was not dropped with the victory as mean-spiritedness continues, even five years later.
Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton are another famous pair. These two were adversaries from the start. While both were serving in George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War, they constantly butt heads. In every election to public office Burr ran for, Hamilton passionately campaigned against. This ultimately led to the famous duel in which Hamilton suffered from a fatal gunshot wound.
Significance of Adversary
Adversaries are the main reason why competition exists in every field in this world. They are the ones that cause rivalries in sports, politics and also in business as everyone gives their all just to be best. Competition is the key to great services and products, especially in business. If you don't deliver good services, the customers will definitely move to someone else with better services at the same price.
Without adversaries, there would be no pressure on you to become better at what you do, leading to stagnation. Adversaries can keep you at your best level as you wouldn't want to be overtaken by your rival. However, adversaries can also end up in a hostile work environment or irreparably damaging professional relationships.
This is why businesses and political organizations need to identify adversaries or adversarial relationships and take steps to qualm the more destructive qualities. This could be Human Resources intervention, employment termination, or a simple teambuilding exercise to improve overall employee relations.