Meeks and Whittington (2021) examined the survival of 1513 large companies listed on the UK stock exchanges in 1948.

70 years later: 1.3% (19) were still standing. From 1960s onwards, the average half life was about 10 years.

[This] prompts questions about the credibility of some of the long-term contracts to which these companies commit.

In 83% of cases, case of death was takeover/merge )not this can be an alternative to insolvency); in 7% of cases, cause of death was outright failure (liquidation/receivership).

Analysing the factors that predict survival, Meeks and Whittington found that being large, growing rapidly and being in the right industry may help.

Probably the most important factor was the ability of the surviving companies to change:

-              UNILEVER: chemicals à food

-              WHITBREAD: brewing à hotels, restaurants, coffee

-              Smith and Nephew: textiles à health

Survivors’ ability to adapt to the changing environment was essential for survival.

This module is deigned to help you understand:

-              The phenomenon of organisations in time.

-              What organisations can do to try to live longer.

At the heart of this is organisation change.

Broadly, we consider two different kinds of change:

-              The change that people do to organisations in an attempt to achieve various organisational goals.

-              The change that naturally occurs in organisations.

Three core ideas…


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