Managing Business Turnaround

Failed attempts at business turnaround have destroyed countless jobs and depleted substantial organizational resources in Jamaica. Drawing from international experience and case studies of Courts Jamaica Limited and Desnoes & Geddes Limited we can identify strategies to rescue a business from losses and insolvency.

During economic recession or product maturation, successful turnaround strategies at corporate level include cutbacks to reduce the level of investment exposure to fit available demand. At the business level, the firm may pursue a cost leadership strategy to offer low prices in return for high sales volumes.  Another strategy is product differentiation. Also, building employee commitment and customer loyalty is important for increasing operational efficiency. 

Business turnaround management is a neglected topic of discussion in corporate Jamaica, despite evidence of substantial company losses and insolvency.  Of the 83 firms listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange since its inception in 1969, 46 incurred losses and only 21 recovered.  All commercial sectors have been affected in both goods and service-oriented industries.  Even a well-diversified organization, such as ICD Group, and a local subsidiary of a global multinational corporation, Guinness Jamaica, became victims of external pressures and internal weaknesses.   Failed attempts at turnaround have destroyed countless jobs and depleted organizational resources causing stress, paralysis and company demise in some instances.

The international literature on turnaround management began nearly four decades ago but is yet to permeate the local business community.  Dan Schendel, Charles Hofer, Hugh O’Neill, Donald Thain, Peng Chan and other scholars identified strategic and operational remedies from case studies. Donald Hambrick, Richard Thietart, Peter Grinyer, John Pearce, Vincent Barker and their colleagues reported statistical support for much of this evidence.


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