SEARCHING FOR THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE by Larry C. Farrell

SEARCHING FOR THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE

Dismantling the Twentieth-Century Corporation--Lessons from Great Asian, European, and American Entrepreneurs
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Forget downsizing, streamlining, and even restructuring: According to business-consultant Farrell, it's time to heave out entire corporate divisions and departments and to spin off what's left into down-and-dirty, turn-on-a-dime, small entrepreneurial ventures. The message here is: Big is bad. During the vast economic expansion of the 1980's, Fortune 500 companies' sales revenues grew by only one percent annually while employment declined by 21 percent--by 12.5 million jobs. In the 1990's, things look worse: Worldwide, big companies have experienced a 20 percent decline in profits and are going bankrupt daily. Farrell's prescription: Fire MBAs, whose expertise tends to be counting money rather than making it; dispatch consultants, whose heroes are less often founders of great businesses and more often stylish professors and theoreticians; and abandon organizational arrogance in favor of complete devotion to the product and the customer. Of course, to be devoted to the customer, you have to know who he or she is; Farrell argues that many big companies--including IBM, Xerox, and GM-- don't, and must jettison functional departments in order to reidentify sales targets. To this end, big firms must develop a sense of mission (``picking the right customer/product strategy''); vision (``a clear picture of a specific set of customers''); a facility for high-speed innovation (``You can't maintain a sense of urgency, of very survival, when you're comfortable and fat''); and a staff that's highly inspired. Farrell is rather vague when it comes to explaining exactly how to entrepreneurialize corporate behemoths, but his many examples of entrepreneurialism (Disney, Matsushita, Messer Landscape, etc.) and anti-entrepreneurialism (in companies large and small) are food for analytic thought. A thoughtful and unusually well-written briefing that may prove more useful--and certainly more reinforcing--for small- business people than for Fortune 500 execs.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-93573-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1992