Today's Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight    View more hours
Home / Services / Library Instruction / Handouts / Company History, Operations, and Other Internal Factors

Company History, Operations, and Other Internal Factors

home | industry | economic & legal | company organization | ethics

History/culture top

There are several good print and online sources of company histories; they range from brief descriptions to book-length studies.

Use UNISTAR, the library catalog, to identify books about individual companies in the Rod Library collection. Some of these books are academic studies while others are more general. Books which focus on a specific firm are listed in the subject heading index under the name of the company. However, it is a good idea to use the UNISTAR keyword index and allow for changes in the name of the company over the years.

*Business and Company Resource Center
Entries for many companies include corporate chronologies and histories: start-up date, ownership changes, etc. Entries for many companies include a history tab that when clicked leads to

*Mergent Online
Provides financial and narrative description and analysis of more than 10,000 publicly held U.S. and non-U.S. companies. Can get up to 15 years of financial statements and ratios. In Advanced Search, can look up companies by SIC code and create customized tables that show variables of interest for all companies or for a specific company in comparison with other companies in the industry.

International Directory of Company Histories
UNI Reference HD2721 .D36
Also online in *Business & Company Resource Center.
Multivolume set with two to three page histories of leading companies; pages on companies in particular industries such as Transport Services are grouped together. See index to all volumes at back of latest edition.

Change and outlook top

*Business & Company Resource Center
*LexisNexis Academic

*Wall Street Journal via *ABI/INFORM

Waterloo Courier and other newspapers
The top four tools provide a way to search for articles on different aspects of company operations by date in order to track the latest developments. Business & Company Resource Center includes the text of company investment reports written by various securities analysis firms; these often discuss outlook and make forecasts.

Privately held companies and small public ones may not be covered extensively by national journals and newspapers but may be written about in newspapers in the area where the company operates and is a "big fish." The Waterloo Courier, for example, publishes articles with information about local companies that may not be available elsewhere.

Company Press Releases
Press releases report new developments on topics such as products, services, and other activities. Many companies archive press releases on their web sites. Other sources such as *Business & Company Resource Center include press releases in addition to articles from journals. PR Newswire and BusinessWire distribute and archive press releases from participating companies. PR Newswire groups press releases by industry.

Press releases, like other web sites, can be faked for fraudulent purposes. One historical example of this involves Emulex Corp., as described by *Business Journal. Another case, involving a fake posting to an investment discussion group and a reference to a fake Bloomberg news service web page involved PairGain, was described in the *Financial Times.

*Value Line Investment Survey
Provides descriptive and evaluative information for about 2,200 firms. Entries include up to 16 years of key financial data, five-year forecasts for the same financial indicators, textual description and evaluation of the company, and beta coefficients. Companies are grouped by industry for easy comparisons.

Operations top

*Business & Company Resource Center
Articles on companies are subdivided by topics such as operations & technology. Articles on Nike under this subheading discuss, for example, expanding retail operations into Paris and use of organic cotton in active wear products.

*Dissertations and Theses (Dissertations Abstracts)
Indexes doctoral dissertations and master's theses; provides abstracts for dissertations since 1980 and the first 24 pages of dissertations since 1997. Operations of a particular company may have been studied by doctoral students.

Manufacturing & Distribution USA
UNI Reference HD9721 .M3495
Provides statistical profile of industries, such as SIC 2434 Wood Kitchen Cabinets, including materials consumed in manufacturing. Data compiled from various government and private sources.

Plants and facilities top

EDGAR Database of Corporate Information
U.S. public companies meeting certain thresholds must file financial disclosure documents with EDGAR, a database maintained by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This tool's search form makes it possible to specify the company and the type of filing desired; the 10-K report, Item 2, describes properties. This report for Maytag, for example indicates the location of major offices and manufacturing facilities.

Company Web Sites
Company web sites sometimes list plants, facilities, and dealer locations.

Workforce and hr issues top

Company Web Sites
Some company web sites provides details about their workforce and recruitment strategies. The UPS web page, for example, includes a fact sheet that describes the diversity of the company work force.

*Business and Company Resource Center
Articles on companies are subdivided by topics such as Management and People

LaborNet's Directory of Unions on the Internet
Labor unions may publish information about companies with whom they have contracts. The Teamsters, for example, provide extensive information about their relations with UPS.

National Industry Occupation Employment Matrix
U.S. government study that reports which occupations are employed in a particular industry, such as local and long distance trucking services, giving percentages of the total.

O*Net Online
For more than 1,100 occupations, explains characteristics of the worker and requirements of the work. The record for delivery service truck drivers, for example, describes the mental and physical demands of the job.

Manufacturing & Distribution USA
UNI Reference HD9721 .M3495
Provides statistical profile of industries, such as SIC 2434 Wood Kitchen Cabinets, including occupations employed in the industry. Data compiled from various government and private sources.
Job databases such as this one can be searched to find postings by particular companies. Such ads can reveal kinds of work being done or planned at a particular company.

Strategies top

*ABI/INFORM, *Wall Street Journal via ABI/INFORM, *Business and Company Resource Center
Combining the company name and strategy-related search terms will bring up articles from academic journals and business magazines and newspapers.

Company Web Sites
Some company web sites summarize company strategy.

10-K Report
Item 1 of this annual report to the SEC provides an overview of the company business and often discusses company strengths and strategies.


Nov. 15, 2010 SL

Need research help? Ask us!