The average life span of a Fortune 500 company is less than half a century, yet there also are corporations around the world that have been in business for 200, 500, even 700 years. Arie de Geus, a retired Royal Dutch/Shell Group executive, maintains after studying both extremes that the most enduring treat their companies as "living work communities" rather than pure economic machines. The Living Company: Habits for Survival in a Turbulent Business Environment
persuasively outlines his resultant prescription for organizational longevity.
From Library Journal
According to a study conducted by Royal Dutch Shell, where the author worked for 38 years, the average life expectancy of Fortune 500 firms is 40 to 50 years. Many such companies don't survive beyond a few years, while others have existed for over 200. Why? De Geus, widely credited with originating the concept of the learning organization, writes: "Companies die because their managers focus on the economic activity of producing goods and services, and they forget that their organizations' true nature is that of a community of humans." He summarizes the components of the long-lived company as sensitivity to the environment, cohesion and identity, tolerance and decentralization, and conservative financing. In this insightful study, he describes how today's managers and staff should strive to develop a living company and increase its life expectancy. An important work; recommended for academic libraries.?Lucy T. Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Queens Village, N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.