Are Large Buerarcratic Orgs Doomed To Mediocrity?

There seems to be a general trend - esp. but not limited to business or government where the driving force of a given organization typically passes away or moves on. I’ve seen this in the industrial design of consumer products going back to the 1930s, at least. Brilliant inventor crufts something up in his garage or whatever, the company struggles, but after long last it is the dominant force in that sector. Good times are had by all. Competition is keen, but when the old man dies, the company “coasts” on past laurels for a while, some reorganization and streamlining, but often to suffer the ignominous finality of the very name being sold to another conglomerate, rinse lather repeat. Emerson TVs anyone? I never heard of them, but they made very nice radios and such in the 1930s.

On the other hand, there are companies that have weathered the storm somewhat unscathed or have not succumbed to the vagaries of a “global economy”. How is it that they are able to accomplish this, given the brute realities of competing in one of the most regulated economies versus no holds-barred rest of the world.

A classic example would be (among many) Henry Ford, of course - a complicated individual to be sure, but representative of both an inventor and someone who had at least some business skills, or the good sense to hire someone who does.

Another would have been the head of Zenith Corporation, Commander Eugene McDonald, who knew a good investment when he saw one. Apparently he saw a couple fellows listening to a radio, but had no idea whatsoever what it was.

He was first a salesman, not a radio guy. While Zenith didn’t make the very best radios, they were very good, and they looked good as well. Coming out with the very latest improvements is still very much in play - for example the new iPhone which is the latest incarnation of the craft. How much of that is the vision of Steve Jobs? Or the Apple Team?

Does this question even have a factual answer? Some corporations grow and flourish and weather occasional bouts of bad management, some don’t.

General Electric is about as bureaucratic as you can get, but remains the market leader in most of its segments.

I’d guess the answer depends on whether a big corporation decides to be always a technoplogical leader (at whatever cost) or to try and maximize profit.