Media Releases

What Can Companies Do to Stay Alive Asks New Book from Strategic Management Faculty at UofT’s Rotman School Management

October 30, 2017

Toronto, ON – From Volkswagon to BP, from Blackberry to Bombardier, from United Airlines to Equifax, businesses — large and small — face threats to their survival. These worries keep corporate leaders awake and night. Is there anything businesses can do about it?

This question and more is answered in new book, Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business, featuring a collection of insights by strategy professors at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The book takes readers through some of the most vexing threats to business today, threats that put the very existence of organizations into question. From disruptive innovation, to social media disasters, to mistaken technical investments, to gender discrimination, to misunderstood competition, companies need to be able to anticipate crises and prepare to deal with them head on. Reading this book, readers will get warnings about four mistakes that companies commonly make – blindness to interactions between systems, getting locked in to existing ways of doing business, falling victim to cognitive biases, and derailment by short-termism.

The good news is that mistakes can be managed. Using structured anticipation, companies can prepare, reorganise and challenge themselves to embrace rather than shirk from risk.

Executives will find principles and practices for anticipating potential threats and creating responses that permit their businesses to not only survive but thrive.

Editor Joshua S. Gans is a professor of strategic management and holds the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School. He is also chief economist of the School’s Creative Destruction Lab. He wrote The Disruption Dilemma, Information Wants to be Shared, and several other books.

Editor Sarah Kaplan, Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the Rotman School, is also Distinguished Professor of Gender and the Economy and a professor of strategic management. She co-wrote the business bestseller Creative Destruction.

“The mantra for the book is that leaders need to be alert and not panicked. While there are always threats that can take out a business, alongside those threats are manageable actions that can be deployed to either pre-empt or confront them,” say Profs. Gans and Kaplan.

In addition to Profs. Gans and Kaplan, contributors to the book include Rotman Professors Ajay Agrawal, Anne Bowers, Kevin Bryan, Alberto Galasso, Anita McGahan, Will Mitchell, A. Rebecca Reuber, Michael Ryall, and András Tilcsik.

On November 7, the book will be officially launched in Toronto with four of the contributors taking the stage. Registration is available online.

The book is published by Dog Ear Publishing.  Further information is available online at

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business and societal challenges.  For more information, visit


Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Tel: 416-946-3818