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The art of corporate endurance

06 May 2014

Business School researcher and senior lecturer, Dr Eric Knight, recently travelled to the United States to collaborate with colleagues from Harvard and Stanford Universities around the areas of corporate endurance and leadership practice.

An article by Dr Knight, "The art of corporate endurance," was featured in the weekly hotlist by the Harvard Business Review last month.

"The Harvard faculty have been incredibly positive about what we are trying to achieve at the University of Sydney, both in terms of our research into leadership practice, as well as our work on organisational ambidexterity," he said.

Knight's  research within the Business School's discipline of Work and Organisational Studies, and the Leadership Practice and Performance Systems Research Network, focuses on leadership practices to enable dynamic capabilities that allow both slow moving corporate and public institutions to be agile and move quickly to seize opportunities.

"To understand how companies innovate to survive, we need to look at companies that have died," he said. "Most companies last 20-30 years before dying but some companies last centuries. I'm interested in the processes and leadership that have allowed them to retain their long-term identity and give up non-strategic parts along the way."

Knight went on to say "a classic example is Polaroid. Edwin Land, who founded Polaroid, was absolutely right that photography was moving towards instantaneous imaging, but absolutely wrong in owning its expression in film. Being inflexible on the wrong things destroyed the company".

For further information, view Knight's article in the Harvard Business Review: The art of corporate endurance.