On the Nov 1st, 1982, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman published "In Search of Excellence". This book has become a cornerstone of management reading.
However, it's based upon case studies of 62 companies and identifying those that are excellent according to a particular framework. It doesn't in my view explain the underlying processes of change and hence I'd argue that it's flawed, fundamentally.
The problem with the work, which is common to many management literature, is that it's based fundamentally on case studies with no underlying model of explanation, no cause, no correlation and no predictive tests. The worst examples of this are those books which run on an assumption that big companies know what they're doing and hence case studies on big companies are some guide to how you should operate. That's fairly delusional given any cursory examination of corporate history.
Despite this, the book has some good themes and I thought it would be interesting to view where these companies have got to in the last 30 yrs, a sort of where are they now?
I'll publish the list on the 1st Nov but I thought I'd start with a draft list, needs lots of checking, confirmation etc. I'll update this post over the months, at the moment it's rough notes.
If someone would like to do an actual study of the "In Search of Excellence 62", set-up a wiki etc - then I'd love to hear about this.
It would probably make a good book and fascinating reading. I'd suggest you publish it on the 1st Nov (hint, hint) and I'd certainly buy it at a reasonable price.
|Allen-Bradley||Private||Still in operation as a brand-name for a line of Factory Automation Equipment. Acquired by Rockwell Automation in 1985.||Defunct|
|Amdahl||Public||Defunct 1997. Bought by Fujitsu||Defunct|
|Digital Equipment||Public||Defunct 1998. Bought by Compaq who was bought by HP.||Defunct|
|Emerson Electric||Rank 118||Ranked 120 in the Fortune 500. No change.||Operating|
|Gould||Private||Acquired in 1988 by Nippon Mining, still in operation.||Operating|
|Hewlett Packard||Rank 110||Rank 11 in the Fortune 500. Significant Increase.||Operating|
|IBM||Rank 8||Rank 18 in the Fortune 500. Fall.||Operating|
|NCR||Public||Acquired by AT&T in 1991. A restructured spin-off in 1996 was given the same name.||Defunct|
|Rockwell||Rank 48||Divisions sold off in the 1990s and in 2001 Rockwell International was split into two companies, Rockwell Automation and Rockwell Collins ending the run of what had once been a massive and diverse conglomerate. Rockwell Automation ranks at 466, Rockwell Collins at 478. Significant fall.||Operating|
|Schlumberger||$39.38||Still in operation. NYSE $59.67.||Operating|
|Texas Instruments||Rank 91||Rank 175 in Fortune 500. Significant Fall.||Operating|
|United Technologies||Rank 20||Rank 44 in Fortune 500. Fall.||Operating|
|Western Electric||Public||Split up into several divisions within AT&T with parts being spun off. Defunct in 1995.||Defunct|
|Westinghouse||Rank 34||Split up into several divisions and sold off with the core of the company renamed to CBS Corporation (Rank 174). Brand name of Westinghouse still continues today. Significant Fall||Operating|
|Xerox||Rank 42||Rank 121 in the Fortune 500.Significant Fall||Operating|
|Blue Bell||Public||Acquired by VF Corporation in 1986.||Defunct|
|Eastman Kodak||Rank 28||Filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2012. Significant Fall||Operating|
|Atari||Rank 483 in 1988||Acquired by Hasbro in 1998. Infogame acquired Hasbro Interactive in 2000. Final assets of Atari acquired in 2008 for $11 million total. Atari suffers from significant financial issues. Significant Fall||Operating|