Corporate Vices: What's gone wrong with business?

Corporate Vices: What's gone wrong with business?

by Charles Cohen
     
 

Corporate Vices uncovers the real performance gap in modern corporations between good business practice that builds companies, and bad corporate habits that eventually bring them down. It builds a detailed picture of how wayward corporations often try too hard, think too little, and forget too much. And it offers a sharp contrast with companies, large and small,

Overview

Corporate Vices uncovers the real performance gap in modern corporations between good business practice that builds companies, and bad corporate habits that eventually bring them down. It builds a detailed picture of how wayward corporations often try too hard, think too little, and forget too much. And it offers a sharp contrast with companies, large and small, that are good businesses, and how they manage to stay that way.

Looking behind the headlines of spectacular corporate disasters, such as Enron and Marconi, as well as corporations that are under pressure and going nowhere, Corporate Vices identifies the common theme of badly run companies, that they fail to realise, or just forget, the importance of business basics, such as productivity, as they explore ever more sophisticated and expensive ways of satisfying other more immediate, like keeping cash profits high to satisfy shareholders - even at the expense of productivity. Corporate Vices explores the complex roots and the story of how corporations have allowed themselves to turn business logic on its head with such ease.

Corporate Vices puts an alternative way of running companies on the table in its many examples of good businesses. These are companies that manage to keep their eye on the ball, even at a price: not achieving corporate glory, turning down the latest technology, and opportunities to enter new markets.

Most of all, Corporate Vices makes it clear how to spot the difference, and then to fix it. It asks the questions, which everyone stuck in a bad company can't seem to answer, like,

• Where did we start to go wrong?

• What does the CEO think he's doing?

• Why can't anyone make a decision any more?

• Whose idea was this merger?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…he does address repeatedly, and in all aspects, the core question many have asked for 15 years…" (The Guardian, 2 November 2002)

"…overall this is a very enjoyable book to read…if the book gets you thinking about your own excesses it can’t be a bad thing…" (Ps.advisor)

"…A hard hitting and uncompromising style. Self-tests that challenge the way you view your business and make you question your own practises. A positive tone that encourages you not to make the same mistakes…" (Internet Works, January 2003)

'The book is an addictive read...' (Venture, March 2003)

"…He offers practical and thoughtful solutions…Buy it…" (Marketing Is Everything Vol. 1, No. 2, 2003)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781841124353
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
12/27/2002
Pages:
148
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.49(h) x 0.52(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Savanorola meets Groucho meets Warren Buffett. This book is a great read, with something to infuriate everyone. Charles Cohen first takes pot shots at the flavour-of-the-month corporate vices: dubious accounting, executive greed, and value-destroying acquisitions. But he also goes for politically correct trends such as touchy-feely HR policies and corporate social responsibility. Leaving almost no turn unstoned, he puts some more sideswipes into advertising, IT, and managers' fixation with the macroeconomy. Behind all this knockabout stuff is a simple back-to-basics message: business is about underlying productivity, it's hard work, and there are no big short cuts." (Prof Patrick Barwise, Prof of Marketing at the London Business School.)

"It was a quite extraordinary moment when I began to read this, one of those moments when the hairs tingle on your neck and you start nodding to yourself, talking out loud and wondering if you're reading something you have written yourself but can't remember when ..going 'Absolutely' and 'I couldn't agree more'.

Quite frankly I'm just amazed that anyone is surprised 'corporate governance', 'alignment of the energy'and the quaint stuff like 'trust' and 'respect' in business has taken so long to get here, people have been getting screwed by the age old structures for so long and Charles' refreshing and 'been there' reality truly hits home." (John Caswell, CEO of Group Partners)

"Charles Cohen has hit the nail firmly on the head. His ten corporate vices are loaded with common sense and right on the money." (Dan Wagner, founder of MAID plc and Venda).

Meet the Author

After graduating from Oxford University in 1992, Charles Cohen worked first as a political speechwriter in the House of Commons and then in Public Relations before setting up his first company to provide website content management solutions for large corporations.

In 1998 he developed an idea to create and manage a new digital currency, initially for use on the internet, which he called beenz (as in "been there, done that"). By 2001, beenz.com had raised $90m in venture capital, had offices in 12 countries and there were over five million beenz accounts. beenz.com was sold to Carlson INC mid-2001.

Mr. Cohen is now a non-executive Director of several companies as well as having direct involvement in a number of start-up businesses. He regularly speaks at business and economics conferences on many of the issues raised in this book. In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and is also an Associate of the New Economics Foundation.

Charles is married with two children and lives in London.

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