The Corporate Life Cycle Model

A very respected business theoriest known as Dr. Ichak Adizes outlined a very interesting theory regarding the life cycle corporations go through. Formally known as the Corporate Life Cycle Model, the theory contains 10 distinct stages each business must pass through as it moves from a simple idea, through realization, and to its ultimate end.

Let’s first look at the 10 stages of the Corporate Life Cycle Model. They are as follows:

  1. Courtship is the period during which you have an idea you are toying with in your head. You alk about development, create business plans, look for funding, etc.
  2. Infancy describes the very first stages of a business, immediately after the official public launch.
  3. The go-go stage occurs when a business is still relatively new. This stage tends to be very busy and in some cases is very chaotic.
  4. A business is in its adolescent stages when it begins to define itself but still experiences growth.
  5. The prime stage of any business model occurs when it is at it’s most profitable and competitive point.
  6. A business is in the stability stage when it is starting to lose its edge but is still considered popular and profitable.
  7. Aristrocracy occurs as a business begins to lose more of its edge and market share but still has a strong presence; it can’t keep up with new technologies.
  8. Recrimination occurs when people begin to have doubts about the future success of a business and begin to feel threatened. They lose sight of their original goals.
  9. A business will turn into a bureaucracy when the administration begins thinking only of themselves. At this point, you’ll notice many of the investors looking elsewhere and key players in the organization leaving for other opportunities.
  10. Finally, a business will just die off. It will be sold to another company for the sake of a client base, file for bankruptcy, or simply close.

The trick, in any business, is to keep a business in the early and middle stages for as long as possible. This means using innovative marketing strategies to come up with new products and new marketing techniques in order to stay as competitive as possible for as long as possible. You and your team should always be looking forward, wondering what you can do next to make things better. If you fall into a rut, you’ll only push yourselves further towards the end of your careers.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 1 December, 2009

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