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Boiled Frog Phenomenon in Business - Essay Example

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This report explains the "Boiled Frog" analogy, and explores the source of this concept. The report also explores the relevance of this concept with respect to business; strategic management in particular. A business example which uses this analogy is explored and the relevant business case is discussed.
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Boiled Frog Phenomenon in Business
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Download file to see previous pages The veracity of this phenomenon is however, a suspect. Scripture (1897) informs that " a live frog can actually be boiled without a movement if the water is heated slowly enough; in one experiment the temperature was raised at a rate of 0.002C. per second, and the frog was found dead at the end of 2 hours without having moved." Many other scientists though debunk this concept (Gibbons, 2002).
The "Boiled Frog" syndrome is often used in business, politics, environment, and other day-to-day activities. In strategic management, this refers to the inability of the companies to detect slow and gradual changes, which could be detrimental to its businesses. While most companies are adept at identifying sudden changes, gradual changes are difficult to detect. Polynice (2009) infers that "the frog metaphor for organizations is that we as a whole should try and identify the threats of our survival at an early stage when we still have time to plan rather than react to that particular threat; which will be too late. Furthermore, we must also learn how to reduce our threshold of change in order to be able to identify smaller changes that are occurring in our environment." This phenomenon can occur in all fields of business, viz., operations, external environment, business acquisition, logistics, etc..
InInstances analogous to "Boiled Frog" often occur in the business environment. In fact, the term was first used by Roger Ford (2002), columnist for Modern Railways magazine while describing privatization of British Rail. A business example of such a situation is the British Railways after privatization. The company Railtrack plc (Railtrack, 2009) took over the railway infrastructure from the government after privatization in April 1994. This new company owned the track, signalling, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and almost all the stations of in UK. It is believed that the company abused its near monopolistic position, and did not commit itself to necessary improvements in infrastructure and safety. Regulators were appointed, but Railtrack resisted regulatory pressures to improve its performance. The performance of the company deteriorated gradually, but there was no recognition of it within the company. Finally, a few crashes, particularly the Hatfield (Hatfield rail crash, 2009) crash on October 17, 2000 exposed the deep-seated safety and maintenance problems of Railtrack. Though only four fatalities occurred in the crash, it exposed the lack of proper management practices and set into motion a chain of events, which finally led to the sell-off of Railtrack to government owned Network Rail in October 2002.
While the root-cause-analysis revealed the root cause of the Hatfield accident to be "Rolling Contact Fatigue", there were several other contributory factors. This included divesting of much of the engineering knowledge of erstwhile British Rail into maintenance contractors. The record keeping of Railtrack was also not adequate. On investigation, several similar potential track problems were discovered. At the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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