Time is on their side

What do Oxford University and the Rolling Stones have in common? They are both two of the most enduring institutions on Earth. (No Keith Richards jokes, please.)

The two are among 10 institutions identified in a study set to be released next month by Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Va. Booz Allen, which is preparing to celebrate its 90th anniversary, commissioned a group of academics to identify institutions that have endured.

"We wanted to see what we could learn from those that had stood the test of time," company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Shrader said during a luncheon talk early this month to the Potomac Officers Club.

Complete details will be published on the company's Web site in November, but Shrader gave luncheon guests an advance peek.

From the field of business: General Electric Co. and Sony Corp.

From government institutions: The U.S. Constitution and the International Telecommunications Union

From non-profit institutions: The Salvation Army and the Rockefeller Foundation

From education: Dartmouth College and Oxford University

From arts and entertainment: The Olympic Games and the Rolling Stones

Booz Allen gave judges six criteria for evaluating their choices: innovative capabilities, adaptive response, information flow, governance and leadership, culture and values, and legitimacy.

"The first three criteria are about creating value," Shrader said. "The other three criteria are based on values. These qualities ensure that the organization remains true to itself and true to its stakeholders."

So an 800-year-old university such as Oxford and a 43-year-old rock band -- whose members may look 800 years old -- have a great deal to teach the world of business.

"Institutions that endure over time are values-based and value-creating," he said.

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