Why Successful Companies Usually Fail
News from INSEAD
“The annals of business history are replete with the names of once great companies that dominated an industry, only to lose pre-eminence and become shadows of their former selves or even disappear. Understanding why powerful companies fail and how to avoid such failure is one of the holy grails of business and management research, not to mention having spawned an enormous and lucrative consulting industry.
“Yet, the very fact that successful companies continue to fail is testament to an incomplete understanding of the drivers of corporate demise. Some argue that strategic outcomes and ultimately a firm’s future are determined by the choices, commitments and actions of top management. In this logic, stellar performance is linked to incumbent CEOs (think Jack Welch at GE, Lou Gerstner at IBM, Alan Mulally at Ford or Andy Grove at Intel) as is poor performance, even if the leader has only been in office for a short time (like Ellen Kullman at DuPont, Fritz Henderson at GM, Christopher Galvin at Motorola or Jorgen Centerman at ABB).”
To Meet, Or Not To Meet
News from Duke University Fuqua School of Business
“John Sampson has plenty of demands on his time. The professor of Neurosurgery serves as the Department Chair of Duke Neurosurgery and the President of the Private Diagnostic Clinic.
“As the person who manages the schedules of both Sampson and Kathy Tobin, Duke Neurosurgery’s chief administrator, Special Assistant Tami Tuck works diligently to figure out how to fit everything in.
“’My job is to make sure he is where he needs to be with clear understanding of location, purpose, and materials to accomplish successful use of his valuable time,’ Tuck said.”
Management As A Calling
News from Stanford GSB
“On July 13, 2005, WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers, who had been convicted of fraud and conspiracy four months earlier, was sentenced to a 25-year prison term. It was the largest accounting scandal in U.S. history, until Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was uncovered in 2008. I remember Ebbers’ sentencing well, because I had just joined the faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and was struck by the fact that no one was talking about it. Ebbers was a man that would have been held up as a model of success for our students, building the second-largest long-distance phone company in the country. But now he was a disgrace.
“It was not until the end of the day that the silence was finally broken. I walked onto an elevator and overheard a memorable conversation between two senior colleagues of mine: ‘What do you think of the Ebbers’ sentence?’ one professor asked. ‘I think it’s ridiculous,’ the colleague replied. ‘It’s not like he killed someone.’”
MIT Energy Initiative Study Reports On The Future Of Nuclear Energy
News from MIT Sloan School of Management
“How can the world achieve the deep carbon emissions reductions that are necessary to slow or reverse the impacts of climate change? The authors of a new MIT study say that unless nuclear energy is meaningfully incorporated into the global mix of low-carbon energy technologies, the challenge of climate change will be much more difficult and costly to solve. For nuclear energy to take its place as a major low-carbon energy source, however, issues of cost and policy need to be addressed.
“In The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World, released by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) on Sept. 3, the authors analyze the reasons for the current global stall of nuclear energy capacity — which currently accounts for only 5 percent of global primary energy production — and discuss measures that could be taken to arrest and reverse that trend.”
Kenan-Flagler Aims To Prepare Students For Health Care Sector
News from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
“UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School recently launched a concentration known as the Center for the Business of Health, available to undergraduate, graduate and master’s students.
“This sector is a collaboration between Kenan-Flagler and different health-related schools on UNC’s campus, including the Schools of Pharmacy, Public Health and Medicine. The concentration was released as an option for business school and non-business school students over the summer.”
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