The 100 Most Significant Events in American Business: An Encyclopedia depicts the chronological order of events contributing to the evolution of American business, with an emphasis on the commercial innovations of each period. The book explores the origins of successful brands, including Apple, Wal-Mart, and Heinz; demonstrates the successful collaboration between public and private sectors illustrated by the Erie Canal, Hoover Dam, and the interstate highway system; and depicts the commercial impact of major economic events from the Panic of 1857 to the Great Recession of 2010.
Quentin R. Skrabec, Jr., PhD, is professor of business and operations management at the University of Findlay, OH.
The story does not single out the union, the workers, management, politicians, or American voters and consumers, since there is plenty of blame to share. Even the economic policy of the country since 1945, which clearly must carry a large portion of the blame, was accepted for all the right reasons. Free trade was to promote world peace and democracy. No one foresaw the ancillary effects of the 1970s on the United States. Yet this approach has brought destruction upon our cities, workers, managers, and country.
If there is a viewpoint, it is one of a love for American manufacturing and those once-robust cities such as Detroit, Toledo, Pittsburgh, Akron, and so many others, that drove forward the American economy.
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?
The entries explore the history and impact of major economic events, including banking crises, economic shortages, recessions, national strikes and labor upheavals, natural resource shortages, panics, real estate bubbles, social upheavals, and the collapse of specific American industries such as rubber and steel production. Students will find this book an essential ready-reference on key events in American economic history that documents how and why these events led to significant financial and economic problems throughout the United States and around the globe.