16 May, 2021

Houses Of Usher

Why do companies fail? An insider gives the lowdown on fatal bunglings and oversight

Houses Of Usher

‘Success has many fathers; failure is but an orphan’—Tacitus’s epigram holds true still. It’s difficult to pinpoint those responsible for a company or a corporate empire going belly-up. Not many venture to identify failures, but Robin Banerjee has made a valiant attempt to look at the reasons for the decline and fall in the corporate world, and lessons learnt. Indeed, not many authors venture to identify failures.

Paradoxically, failure and success often have the same roots. “Success is often built on a bed of fiascos, and flops. Unl­ess you fall, you do not learn; unl­­­ess you try, you cannot fail; unless you fail, you cannot grasp,” says Ban­er­jee, providing an insight into what made companies go the Titanic way.

Not a single company listed in the first Dow Jones Index in 1896 is listed today. Some may still exist as part of other conglomerates, but most have faded into oblivion. But why do some companies last centuries, but most do not? asks Banerjee.

The answer to durability mainly lies...

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