The Rise and Fall of Great Companies: Courtaulds and the Reshaping of the Man-Made Fibres Industry

Hardcover | October 30, 2010

byGeoffrey Owen

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This book is about a company which pioneered a major new industry, failed to build on that success, and ended up being taken over and broken up. By comparing this firm with its competitors in the same industry, the book sheds light on one of the hardest of all managerial challenges: whatcompanies can do when their industry goes through a period of turbulence, forcing them to change direction, learn new skills, and perhaps abandon businesses on which they have relied for many years. Courtaulds was a British company which was once the world's leading producer of man-made fibres. It failed to adapt to the crisis in that industry that began in the mid-1970s, and lost ground to the point where, 25 years later, it could no longer sustain itself as an independent company. The crisisstemmed from the shift of textiles, clothing, and man-fibre production to low-wage countries, and above all to China. The book looks in some detail at the other companies - European, American, and Japanese - which had a big commitment to man-made fibres in the earlier post-war decades and, like Courtaulds, faced difficult adjustment problems in the closing years of the 20th century. Why did some of them handle thecrisis better than Courtaulds? In answering this question the book looks both at decisions taken by individual managers and at the national context in which they were operating. Institutional differences between countries, notably in the role of shareholders and the financial markets, played animportant role in determining which companies survived and which did not.

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This book is about a company which pioneered a major new industry, failed to build on that success, and ended up being taken over and broken up. By comparing this firm with its competitors in the same industry, the book sheds light on one of the hardest of all managerial challenges: whatcompanies can do when their industry goes through...

Sir Geoffrey Owen is a former editor of the Financial Times who is now a Senior Fellow at the Department of Management, London School of Economics. He was deputy editor of the Financial Times from 1973 to 1980 and editor from 1981 to 1990. He was knighted in 1989.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:October 30, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199592896

ISBN - 13:9780199592890

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Secrets of Corporate LongevityCourtaulds and its Competitors 1904-20081. A New Industry Takes Shape2. Rayon in Retreat, and Courtaulds' Narrow Escape3. Frank Kearton's Grand Design4. Courtaulds on the Rack5. Searching for New Directions6. A Necessary Separation7. The Last Days of Courtaulds8. Courtaulds Textiles: Independence Won and LostAfter the Break-up9. What the New Owners Did10. Hopes UnfulfilledThe World Man-Made Fibres Industry11. Adjustment to Decline: Exits and New Entries12. Life Beyond Fibres: The Quest for a Winning PortfolioConclusion13. Firm Survival and National InstitutionsAppendices