3Carillion Plc

DOI: 10.4324/9781003457398-4

‘Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.’— Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871)

The collapse of Carillion plc was one of the United Kingdom’s largest corporate failures. On 15 January 2018, after a series of profit warnings a few months earlier, the company announced that it was entering compulsory liquidation. Why did one of the United Kingdom’s largest construction groups collapse into bankruptcy less than a year after delivering record results?

There is a difference between a puzzle and a mystery. A puzzle has a well-defined set of rules and a single solution. Mysteries don’t have such clarity, and they don’t have an objectively correct solution. We approach mysteries ...

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