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Sole Surviviors

Sole Survivors is now reissued in PDF Format. This is because organisational survival has become an important topic in these difficult economic times.

The book is based on a study of nine European companies who have survived very difficult competitive pressures. The back cover of the book makes the following points:

Some companies seem born to fail, while others manage to survive in the face of great adversity.

What are the secrets of the survivors?

Sole Survivors puts nine companies under the microscope to discover what sets them apart from their less-successful competitors, what makes them ‘exceptional’.

But these nine are neither blue-chip multinationals nor high-tech operators. They are small medium sized European companies in a traditional sector that has been decimated in recent times – footwear manufacturing.

This book tells the stories of the survivors, from their historical development to their business strategies and from their organisational structures to their work processes. But the analysis doesn’t just consider the cold facts and figures. By going deeply into each company, by understanding the issues and concerns of the people who work there, Sole Survivors gets to the very heart of the organisations.

The stories in Sole Survivors are well told and engaging, and the overall analysis is concise and sharp. The book concludes with a unique framework that links different management disciplines to provide a fresh understanding of how businesses operate. Above all, the survival stories will inspire and enlighten anyone interested in what really happens inside exceptional companies.


  • Introduction
  • Ch. 1: From a Production-led to a Market-led Organisation Barker , England
  • Ch. 2: Better Work Organisation, Better Production Dubarry, Ireland
  • Ch. 3: Co-operation Among Enemies: A Source of Advantage Pomarfin, Finland
  • Ch. 4: Developing & Exporting Youth Fashion Products George Cox, England
  • Ch. 5: From Crisis to Survival: The Role of the Consultant Nokian, Finland
  • Ch. 6: Sophisticated Products Need a Sophisticated Organisation Arbesko, Sweden
  • Ch. 7: Survival at the Edge Lundhags, Sweden
  • Ch. 8: Chaos or Coherence: Producing Ladies’ Fashion Hamken, Finland
  • Ch. 9: Children’s Goods: The Ultimate Test Start-rite, England
  • Ch. 10: Review of Nine
  • Ch. 11: Performance and Survival
  • Ch. 12: Framework for Analysis
  • Where to Next? Governments, Companies & Europe


  • Company: Survival, Analytical Framework, Case Studies, Performance, Emotional Life, Community, Organisation
  • Learning, Training, Competitiveness, Consultants, Organisational Structure
  • Fashion, Finance, Footwear, Factory Production, Family ownership, Decision-making, Customers, Consumers
  • HR/Personnel, Industrial Relations, Informal Organisation, Innovation
  • Management Styles, Market, Marketing, Trade Unions, Turnover
  • Organisational Change: JIT, WCM, Continuous Improvement… Quality
  • Relationships/Networks, Retail, R&D, PR, Sales, SATRA, SMEs, Styles
  • Success Factors, Technology, Teams
  • [See index for further details]

About the Author:

Anto Kerins is a senior lecturer in the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, Faculty of Tourism & Food, DIT. His research interests include education, learning and service-learning. He has also studied unemployment, training, competitiveness and other subjects and has carried out research projects and written reports for Irish government and European agencies on various topics. His PhD is on education and learning.

He is presently researching the role and purpose of higher education.

‌He has also been working on what he defines as ‘life-learning’. When not working, he enjoys walking, fishing, photography and baroque music and he recently completed the .