New book examines Boeing's decline

Issue date: 12 September 2005

Issue date: 12/09/05

Deep Stall: The Turbulent Story of Boeing Commercial Airplanes

A new book co-authored by the Director of the Aerospace Research Centre at Bristol UWE analyses the history of the US company Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace/defence company with a turnover of approximately US$60bn, and compares it to its nearest rival in the civil aircraft market, the European manufacturer, Airbus.

Deep Stall is written by Philip K Lawrence of the University of the West of England and David W Thornton, of Campbell University, USA and is published by Ashgate in the UK in October 2005.

The book uses the concept of strategic value to explain Boeing's decline. Strategic value is created via a company’s investment in people and technology to enable future market success by developing innovative new products. The authors argue that Boeing has neglected strategic value in favour of shareholder value, defined in terms of short-term cash benefits.

Professor Philip Lawrence says, “The book reveals what can happen when quarterly returns become the predominant strategic rationale for a company. In the US the business print media (Economist, Forbes, Fortune, and Business Week etc) have shown a great interest in the question of Boeing's decline as it has major implications for the US national interest. Boeing has been seen as one of the jewels in the US technology crown, but today it is placing most of its aircraft program work in Asia. Thus US jobs and capability are being exported abroad. This is a very hot topic in the US which explains why the business media are now so interested in this question.”

The book also looks at the defence scandals that engulfed Boeing in 2003/2004 and therefore touches on wider questions of corporate governance in the US. It is both a history of Boeing and a treatise on business strategy.


Editor’s notes

Deep Stall, Written by Philip K Lawrence and David W Thornton ISBN: 07546 46262.

Available in the UK from: Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales, at £30.00 + p&p Tel: 01235 827730 or e mail:

Summary of contents: Introduction; Pre-history: the era before civil jet transport; The civil jet liner and Boeing's rise to dominance; Extending the product range: from financial disaster to market dominance; European Renaissance: the rise of Airbus; Boeing's response to the A300: a tale of two models; Boeing: the flight from innovation; Interlude: the Airbus vs. Boeing: trans Atlantic trade and subsidy battle; A company in crisis?; Postscript: a Boeing revival, Bibliography, Index.

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