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The Neglected Firm


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Success Stories

by Jorge Vasconcellos e Sa

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ISBN 0 333 98712 8
Published by Palgrave, 2002
140pp, hardback
Retail price £14

Open Book

Review by David John

"Every manager must manage two firms: the present one and the future one" is the cover slogan which well summarizes the contents of The Neglected Firm. The cover picture illustrates the problems facing the individual manager as two ends of a fraying rope joined by a single strand. These are the two organizations he or she must attempt to hold together.

The author, Professor Jorge Vasconcellos e Sá, has excellent credentials, but is venturing into well-trodden terrain. At this stage in the development of management theory, it would be amazing if he could contribute something previously unsaid.

There is nothing new, as such, in this book. The professor is a specialist in training and educating managers, and that is the strength he shows. He emphasizes the need for managers to balance day-to-day management tasks with the need for strategic planning and marketing. He goes on to identify the steps that a manager is required to go through in defining and implementing a long-term marketing strategy.

The professor's book is published by Palgrave, a subsidiary of St Martin's Press. Thus it does not meet the normal criterion for inclusion on this web site, namely being from an "independent publisher". It is here because it is by an unknown author who will come up against unfair competition from high-profile management gurus who make their readers pay through the nose for the privilege of sharing their expertise. There is no need for the business professional to accept that state of affairs.

The book, or manual as it should more correctly be called, offers a practical seven-step approach for managers to follow, together with case studies relating to multi-national and national companies. The author is in an exceptionally good position to find suitable examples, having himself been employed as a consultant by firms as diverse as IBM and Intermarché, and he uses his past experiences to impressive effect.

I would recommend this as a practical management handbook. Although limited in scope, it covers the material thoroughly and neatly, using appropriate (if not very colourful) diagrams and tables to illustrate each point. Some may find it a little dry, but it is concise, packing a lot into a little over a hundred pages. Either because of his relative obscurity or because of the book's slimness, or perhaps both, it is available at a lower price than many of its competitors. The contents are easy to assimilate and this makes it good value.

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