The demise of so-called corporate giants dates back to 476 A.D. with the fall of the Roman Empire. The decline of the Roman Empire can be compared to today's failures in corporate America. Such viewpoints suggest that decay, financial problems and division of an empire were some of the causes. In particular, economic issues were a major factor. Economic decay included trade deficit, environmental changes, hoarding of the bullion, looting of the treasury, lack of leadership and disorganization (Gill). Again, it is hard to believe that these were some of the root causes. However, they sound all too familiar with the corporate failures that have been crashing to earth recently.
Huge Fortune 500 companies, such as Enron, WorldCom, Kmart, Xerox and Polaroid, have failed miserably. These are companies that were not supposed to collapse. However, they now fall into the "corporate failures" category. The statistics are staggering. Last year, 257 public companies with $258 billion in assets declared bankruptcy that shattered the previous year's record of 176 companies and $95 billion (Icon Today).
Why do companies fail? Do they fizzle due to the same reasons as the Roman Empire or are their more modern reasons? Ask the CEOs, and you will get every excuse in the book. Such excuses include: a bad economy, market turbulence, a weak yen, hundred-year floods, perfect storms (Icon Today). In essence, these are all forces that are claimed to be outside the control of the CEO. However, Fortune magazine, after review of recent failures, stated that "Most companies founder for one simple reason: managerial error." (Corporate Transition).
Keeping the above in mind, could Wal-Mart, the world's largest company, become a part of the infamous and ever growing "corporate failure" list? Will it soon be featured in Fortune magazine and make more headlines than Enron? Will Wal-Mart soon emulate its former competitor, Kmart,... [continues]
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