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Analytic Book Review

How the Mighty Fall and Analytic Book Review: How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In Abstract Organizational failures and bankruptcies have become a highly frequent sight of present generation. Organizational failures is most commonly referred to as financial losses or stagnation of financial performance of an organization, however, it is a more comprehensive concept. Not being able to attain organizational objectives – no matter whether they are financial objectives or non-financial – is organizational failures.

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Internal workings of the organizations have long been a subject of study for management theorists, for what else can be more useful study than study of business failures and the methods to avoid them. It has always been theorized that organizational failures are just visible impacts of some fundamental factors in the underlying structure and culture of an organization. Finding out and isolating these factors is the real challenge. Management and leadership studies have highly valuable applications to governments and forms of settings in which sync is required in the efforts of team for the accomplishments of objectives.

Decision making within an organizational setting and the sharing of responsibility is the key determinant of success in organizations. Introduction “How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In” is a book by Jim Collins who is widely recognized as one of the most prominent management theorists of this age. His two earlier books, ‘Good to Great’ and ‘Built to Last: Successful habits of visionary companies’ were international best sellers and were critically acclaimed by other management theorists.

Jim Collins is a consultant, author, and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth; and his ideas have been successfully put to test in application in diverse areas of business and in different industries. The most recent publication ‘How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In’ is about the factors common to those few companies to sustain remarkable success for a substantial period. Collins states in the ntroduction of the book itself that it is not a complete book, and the text of the book was originally intended for an article, and that he was working on the manuscript of another book at that time. This is perhaps a reason for a surprisingly short book with a span of only 123 pages while the rest of a hundred pages comprises of miscellaneous articles, “the origins of this work date back to more than three years earlier, when I became curious about why some of the great companies in history, including some once-great enterprises we’d researched for Built to Last and Good to Great, had fallen” (Collins, 2009).

So this book can be considered to be a logical sequel of previous ground breaking works of Jim Collins. Collins has often discussed a Level 5 leader in his works. Level 5 leader actually is a reference to the peak of a five-tier hierarchy of leadership characteristics which according to Collins are the linchpin of successful organizations for he represents a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. The concept of Level 5 Leader is not discussed in detail in this particular book.

Interestingly, Collins has criticized some of the ideas given in his previous books in this particular text, even though the database used for the creation of this text is the same as the one used in previous works. Anecdotal evidence is not very common in this book, and in fact, many other recent texts on management literature has far comprehensive basis in research than many of Collin’s work, yet the key selling point of Collins is his very interesting narration. It is generally said that Collins tells a story and expects that story to be persuasive enough to persuade readers of his arguments.

This can be said to hold true for this text also. There is also a connection of this book’s text with the text of earlier books, for Collins discusses why some enterprises were chosen in the previous book as examples of success and why they fell on hard times today after once being great. He explained that a great company stumbles into mediocrity does not mean the criteria presented in his work before was flawed or the reference framework was wrong. Rather, somewhere along the way those particular companies strayed away from what once made them great.

Thesis of the Book How the Mighty Fall put forth a the justifiable optimism that leaders can be taught how to stave off organizational decline and, if they find organization falling into an infinitesimal abyss, they can reverse the course the decline by understanding the five step-wise stages of business decline uncovered in the presumably four year research project put into the book. The book rests on the presumption that all institutions, irrespective of their apparent stability are vulnerable to decline. Every business can fall, and most ultimately do fail.

However, business decline is mostly an outcome of management’s action rather than a chance event. The way to recovery can be found, according to the thesis of the book, majorly within the leadership methodology itself. Organizations are not a resultant by their conditions; rather they are a resultant sum of their history and the conscious concerted efforts of the management and personnel. Until the time, organizations have not become insolvent and are not broken by bankruptcy laws; they are corrigible and can be brought back to life.

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