Corporate disconnection

Roger Martin has started a series of posts arguing that bosses of big organisations are increasingly disconnected from reality:

I want to explore the growing malaise around business in particular in widely-held publicly traded corporations. I believe we have migrated — quite by accident — to a set of conditions such that in order to operate their corporations senior executives are pressured toward a form of existence that is substantially inauthentic.

He looks at how you can’t really really relate to shareholders as a community, because of way stocks are bought and sold moment-by-moment and held with little emotional connection to the organisation.

He also points out that big corporations have become much bigger over the years.

GM, the behemoth of 1960, pulled in revenues that would in today’s dollars ($66 billion) put it behind Archer Daniels Midland, 2009’s 27th placed company, way below number one Exxon Mobil with $442 billion…In fact, only ten companies in 1960 were bigger than regional power utility Pacific Gas and Electric (#176) in 2009. This meant that executives could have a relatively intimate relationship with their customers, who were mainly located in their company’s home region or at least country.

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