- Record 263 Chapter 11 filings;
2008 - record for largest bankruptcy filings
(Lehman Brothers Holdings with $691.1 Billion in assets,
Washington Mutual with about $327.9 Billion in assets at the
time of filing; WorldCom, 2002 filing, third largest with $103.9
Billion in assets).
- Biggest Corporate Bankruptcies - 1. Lehman Brothers
Holdings Inc., Sept. 15, 2008: $639 billion; 2. Worldcom
Inc., July 21, 2002: $103.91 billion; 3. Enron
Corp., Dec. 2, 2001: $63.39 billion*; 4. Conseco
Inc., Dec. 18, 2002: $61.39 billion; 5. Texaco
Inc., April 12, 1987: $35.89 billion; 6. Financial Corp.
of America, Sept. 9, 1988: $33.86 billion; 7.
Refco Inc., Oct. 17, 2005: $33.33 billion; 8.
Global Crossing Ltd., Jan. 28, 2002: $30.19 billion; 9.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co., April 6, 2001:
$29.77 billion; 10. UAL Corp., Dec. 9, 2002:
$25.2 billion; 11. Delta Air Lines Inc., Sept.
14, 2005: $21.8 billion; 12. Adelphia Communications,
June 25, 2002: $21.5 billion; 13. Mcorp, March
31, 1989: $20.23 billion; 14. Mirant Corp.,
July 14, 2003: $19.42 billion; 15. Delphi Corp.,
Oct. 8, 2005: $16.59 billion; (* Enron assets were taken from
its quarterly Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Nov.
19, 2001; the company announced that the financials were under
review at the time of filing for Chapter 11.
(Sources: New Generation Research, Inc.,
AP Research, CNBC.com)
(Baring), Helga Drummond (2008).
The Dynamics of Organizational Collapse: The Case of Barings
Bank. (New York, NY: Routledge, 143 p.). Professor,
Organisational Learning, Behaviour and Change, University of
Liverpool Management School. Leeson, Nicholas William; Barings
Bank; Bank failures -- Great Britain; Merchant banks -- Great
Britain; Organizational behavior -- Case studies; Corporate
culture -- Case studies; Organizational effectiveness -- Case
studies. High-level, multi-theoretical analyses, psychological
and sociological theories to explore events of Nick Leeson’s
employment with Barings' in Singapore in 1992 to Barings'
collapse in 1995.
(Coca-Cola), Donald R. Keough (2008).
The Ten Commandments for Business Failure. (New York,
NY: Portfolio, 208 p.). Former President, COO at Coca-Cola;
chairman of Allen & Company. Business failures.
Responsible for New Coke fiasco;
how companies get into trouble, believe in infallibility;
"how-not-to" book; commandments: Quit Taking Risks; Be
Inflexible; Assume Infallibility; Put All Your Faith in Experts;
Send Mixed Messages; and Be Afraid of the Future; "anyone who
follows my formula will be a highly successful loser."
(One. Tel), Paul Barry (2002).
Rich Kids: How the Murdochs and Packers Lost $950 Million in
(Milsons Point, N.S.W.: Random House Australia, 392 p.).
Murdoch, Rupert, 1931- ; Packer, Kerry; One.Tel (Firm);
Telecommunication--Australia; Business failures--Australia.
Bill Adler, Jr. and Julie Houghton (1997).
America's Stupidest Business Decisions: 101 Blunders, Flops and
Screwups. (New York, NY: Quill, 238 p.). Consumer Goods,
Product Management, Brand Management.
Merrill R. Chapman (2003).
In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing
Disasters. (Berkeley, CA: Apress, 252 p.). Computer
software industry--Management--Case studies; Computer
industry--Management--Case studies; Business failures--Case
Paul B. Carroll, Paul B., Chunka Mui (2008).
Billion-Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most
Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years. (New
York, NY: Portfolio, 320 p.). Former Reporter (The Wall Street
Journal); Former Chief Innovation Officer at Diamond Management
and Technology Consultants. Business failures; Management.
Lessons from managements of companies that lost millions (if not
billions) in pursuit of strategies that led to big losses; most significant failures of
last 25 years: 750 bankruptcies, major writeoffs, discontinued
operations; #1 cause of failure - misguided strategy (not
sloppy execution, lack of leadership, bad luck); categories of strategies: 1) synergy, 2) financial engineering, 3)
rollups, 4) staying the course, 5) adjacencies, 6) riding
technology, 7) consolidation.
Matt Haig (2003).
Brand Failures: The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding
Mistakes of All Time. (Sterling, VA: Kogan Page, 310
p.). Brand name products--Marketing; Brand loyalty; Brand
Robert F. Hartley (1987).
Bullseyes and Blunders: Stories of Business Success & Failure.
(New York, NY: Wiley, 253 p.). Industrial management--Case
studies; Marketing--Management--Case studies; Success in
business--Case studies; Business failures--Case studies.
Jill Herbers (1994).
The Business Disaster Book of Days: The World's Greatest
Financial Mishaps, Follies, & Remarkable Events.
(Seacaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Group, 162 p.). Business--Humor.
Calvin L. Hodock (2007).
Why Smart Companies Do Dumb Things: Avoiding Eight Common
Mistakes in New Product Development. (Amherst, NY:
Prometheus Books, 357 p.). Professor of Marketing at Berkeley
College, Adjunct Professor at Stern School of Business (New York
University). New products. Eight typical innovation blunders
that doom new product development: misjudging market,
"dead-on-arrival products", "fatal frugality", "timetable
tyranny"; why such mistakes occur: breakdowns in marketing
research process, marketing dishonesty, lack of real-world
preparation among newly graduated MBAs, CEOs under pressure to
deliver unrealistic earning targets, clueless boards of
directors, general absence of accountability; dire consequences
to investors, employees.
Adam Horowitz and the editors of Business 2.0
The Dumbest Moments in Business History: Useless Products,
Ruinous Deals, Clueless Bosses, and Other Signs of Unintelligent
Life in the Workplace. (New York, NY: Portfolio, 208
p.). Industrial management--History--Anecdotes; Business
failures--History--Anecdotes; Business history--Anecdotes.
Eds. Forest W. Horton Jr. and Dennis Lewis
Great Information Disasters: Twelve Prime Examples of How
Information Mismanagement Led to Human Misery, Political
Misfortune and Business Failure. (London, UK: Aslib, 218
p.). Errors, Popular -- Case studies.
Philip J. Kaplan (2002).
F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot.com Flameouts. (New York,
NY: Simon & Schuster, p.). Business failures--United
States--Case studies; Internet industry--United States--Case
studies; Electronic business--United States--Case studies. See
also John Cassidy ("Dot.con").
Danny Miller (1990).
The Icarus Paradox: How Exceptional Companies Bring About Their
Own Downfall: New Lessons in the Dynamics of Corporate Success,
Decline, and Renewal. (New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 306
p.). Business failures--United States--Case studies.
Paul C. Nutt (2002).
Why Decisions Fail: Avoiding the Blunders and Traps that Lead to
Debacles. (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler
Publishers, 332 p.). Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Management
Sciences, Fisher College of Business (Ohio State University).
Decision making. 400
decisions made by top managers (products and services, pricing
and markets, personnel policy, technology acquisition, strategic
reorganization); 2 of 3 decisions based on failure prone,
questionable tactics; key errors, successful alternatives.
James Robert Parish (2006).
Fiasco: A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops. (Hoboken,
NJ: Wiley, 368 p.). Motion pictures--California--Los
Angeles--History; Motion pictures--United States--Plots, themes,
etc. Most sensational failures in modern
Tim Phillips (2011).
Fit to Bust: How Great Companies Fail. (Philadelphia,
PA: Kogan Page, 210 p.). Business Journalist and Broadcaster.
Business failures; Management; Business failures -- Case
studies; Management -- Case studies. Disastrous decisions
- what happened, why, what could have been differently
- overexpansion, failure to do due diligence, blindness toward
economic bubble; why smart people make bad decisions; how
changing one decision could have helped avoid disaster (Enron,
Polaroid, WorldCom, Woolworth).
David A. Ricks (1983).
Big Business Blunders: Mistakes in Multinational Marketing.
(Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin, 158 p.). Export marketing;
International business enterprises.
Blunders in International Business. (Malden, MA:
Blackwell Business, 172 p. [3rd ed.]). International business
enterprises--Management--Case studies; Business failures--Case
Joel E. Ross and Michael J. Kami (1973).
Corporate Management in Crisis; Why the Mighty Fall.
(Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 263 p.). Industrial
management--United States--Case studies; Big business--United
Scott A. Sandage (2005).
Born Losers: A History of Failure in America.
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 384 p.). Associate
Professor of History (Carnegie Mellon University). Social
values--United States--History--19th century; Losers--United
States--History--19th century; Failure (Psychology)--United
States--History--19th century; Capitalism--Social
aspects--United States--History--19th century; Identity
(Psychology)--United States--History--19th century; Stigma
(Social psychology); Social status--United States--History--19th
Jagdish N. Sheth (2007).
The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies…And How to Break
Them. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School
Publishing, 304 p.). Charles H. Kellstadt Chair of Marketing in
the Goizueta Business School (Emory University). Success in
business; Business failures--Case studies; Industrial
management. 7 bad
practices that can lead to failure (denial, arrogance,
complacency, incumbency, competitive myopia, volume obsession,
Robert Sobel (1999).
When Giants Stumble: Classic Business Blunders and How to Avoid
Them. (Paramus, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 350 p.). Business
failures--United States--Case studies; Success in
business--United States--Case studies.
Ed. Daniel F. Spulber (2002).
Famous Fables of Economics: Myths of Market Failures.
(Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 312 p.). Elinor Hobbs
Distinguished Professor of International Business and Professor
of Management Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management
(Northwestern University). Business failures--History; Economic
Walter Stewart (2005).
Belly Up: The Spoils of Bankruptcy. (Toronto, ON:
McClelland & Stewart, 293 p.). Bankruptcy--Canada;
Bankruptcy--United States; Corporate debt--Canada; Corporate
debt--United States; Faillite--Canada; Faillite--États-Unis;
Trevor Sykes (1988).
Two Centuries of Panic: A History of Corporate Collapses in
Australia. (Boston, MA: Allen & Unwin, 593 p.). Business
The Bold Riders: Behind Australia's Corporate Collapses.
(St. Leonard's, NSW, AU: Allen & Unwin, 654 p. [2nd ed.]).
Business failures--Australia; Capitalists and
Business History Links
101 Dumbest Moments in Business
In a perfect world, a list like this would not exist. In a
perfect world, businesses would be run with the utmost integrity
and competence. But ours is, alas, an imperfect world, and if we
must live in one where Enron, Geraldo Rivera, and Cottonelle
Fresh Rollwipes exist, the least we can do is catalog the
The Museum of E-Failure
The Museum of E-Failure bears witness to the dot.bomb
phenomenon, presenting the last images of the front pages of
failed Websites. Steve Baldwin, who maintains the site,
explains, "It is my hope that these screenshots may serve as a
reminder of the glory, folly, and historically unique design
sensibilities of the Web's Great Gilded Age (1995-2001)." The
sites are arranged in a long list, with recent additions on the
top of the page. Clicking on a site name brings up a screen shot
of the site's farewell front page. A sort of virtual graveyard,
the Museum of E-Failure represents a memorial on the side of the