These chapters combine themes of entrepreneurship, innovation and networks with a specifically European focus, highlighting the wide variations at the national, regional and business level. These variations suggest the need to break with traditional stereotypes about Southern and Northern Europe. The book takes a Schumpeterian perspective, emphasising the importance of looking at the history of entrepreneurship and innovation, paying particular attention to the neglected area of innovation in services within firms.
Paloma Fernández Pérez has a PhD in history from the University of California and is Assistant Professor of Economic History at the University of Barcelona. Her research interests are family business, innovation, entrepreneurial networks, and lobbies. She has published El rostro familiar de la metrópolis (Madrid, 1997) and Un siglo y medio de trefilería en España (Barcelona, 2004), has edited with P. Pascual Del metal al motor (Bilbao, 2007), and has published articles in Business History, Enterprise & Society, Business History Review, Revista de Historia Industrial, Revista de Historia Económica, and Investigaciones de Historia Económica. She is principal researcher of a project on entrepreneurial networks in Spain and member of the Centre d ́Estudis Antoni de Capmany.
Mary Rose is Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in the Management School at Lancaster University, UK. She specialises in evolutionary approaches to innovation and the relationships between innovation, entrepreneurship and communities of practice. She has published widely on the evolution of business values, networking behaviour by family firms and the problem of leadership succession. Publications have included numerous articles in refereed journals and she has authored and co-authored three books and edited nine. With Mike Parsons she co-authored Invisible on Everest: Innovation and the Gear Makers (2003), which was winner of the 2005 Design History Society Prize and runner up for the 2004 Wadsworth Prize.
But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?
Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:
“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”
Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?