The Rise and Fall of Great Companies: Courtaulds and the Reshaping of the Man-Made Fibres Industry - Pasold Studies in Textile History 17 (Hardback)
  • The Rise and Fall of Great Companies: Courtaulds and the Reshaping of the Man-Made Fibres Industry - Pasold Studies in Textile History 17 (Hardback)

The Rise and Fall of Great Companies: Courtaulds and the Reshaping of the Man-Made Fibres Industry - Pasold Studies in Textile History 17 (Hardback)

Hardback 320 Pages
Published: 09/09/2010

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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: what companies 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 crisis stemmed 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 the crisis 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 an important role in determining which companies survived and which did not.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199592890
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 736 g
Dimensions: 241 x 162 x 34 mm


[An] impressively researched and lucidly written study...timely - David Kynaston, Financial Times

Well written and judicious...deeply absorbing. - Martin Vander Weyer, Mail on Sunday

This book will appeal to business historians wishing to understand how strategic management can inform our understanding of the very recent history of the man-made fibres industry, and those scholars in strategic management who are sceptical of the relevance of business history. - David Higgins, Business History

Owens study is impressively researched and clearly written.This book deserves a wide readership. Not only would it be of interest to textile and business historians, but the lucid analysis makes it accessible to anyone interested in how business works. - Janet Greenlees, English Historical Review

Geoffrey Owen's book on the demise of the Courtaulds company is one of the finest studies I know of a company grappling with a changing industry landscape. It has much to teach us of how the world works, and I cannot think of a better antidote to offer students whose textbooks discuss business strategy in overly simplified settings. - Professor John Sutton, London School of Economics

a book that the Pasold Research Fund ought to be proud to publish as the seventeenth in its highly authoritative series of studies in textile history. - Economic History Review

In this volume theory, empiricism, and compelling refl ections on the big picture work together in a way that will make this book rewarding not merely for textile historians but for anyone interested in modern, global, business history. Products, market structures, personalities, business cultures and technologies are all examined with impressive assurance. The book is, moreover, extremely well organised and its many sub-headings within chapters facilitate navigation. There are also some fi ne illustrations and helpful glossaries of product and processes. All in all, this is a most important contribution to contemporary business history and an outstanding addition to the Pasold Studies in Textile History. - Philip Ollerenshaw, Textile History

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