BA490 Week 7 Discussion The Icarus Paradox

| February 14, 2018

BA 490 Week 7 The Icarus
ParadoxThe Icarus ParadoxRead the following information and
discuss, “How can a corporation keep from sliding into the Decline
stage of the organizational life cycle?” Use examples from “The
Icarus Paradox: Trajectories of Decline”.The Icarus Paradox: Trajectories of
DeclineIn The Icarus Paradox, Miller proposes
that companies go into decline because the very characteristics that helped
make them successful tend to be taken to extremes over time and eventually
cause a decrease in performance. A successful firm develops a theme based on a
mission and a mutually supportive configuration composed of strategies,
policies, structure, and culture. Success creates momentum, causing
organizations to keep extending their theme and configuration until they push
too far and eventually start to decline. Based on studying over 100 companies,
Miller found four very common “trajectories” of decline.
trajectory turns quality driven Craftsmen with masterful engineers and
excellent operations into rigidly controlled, detail obsessed Tinkerers
making perfect products with little appeal to the marketplace. By
focusing on perfection and not on the marketplace, they alienate
customers. By the end of World War II and before Daniel Krumm broadened
the company’s product lines, Maytag was probably well on its way to
becoming a niche-oriented tinkerer of high quality washing machines.
trajectory converts growth driven, entrepreneurial Builders with
imaginative leaders and brilliant financial staffs into impulsive, greedy
Imperialists who squander their resources by expanding helterskelter into
businesses they know nothing about. ITT under Harold Geneen was first a
brilliant success in conglomerate diversification, but eventually could
not keep track of all its acquisitions and went into decline.
trajectory turns Pioneers with unexcelled R&D and state of the art
products into utopian Escapists, dominated by cults of free spirited
scientists in pursuit of interesting inventions with little market appeal.
Polaroid under Dr. Land became an escapist firm when it continued to
develop wonderfully innovative products, but forgot about the
trajectory converts Salesmen with superior market skills and prominent
brand names into aimless, bureaucratic Drifters whose sales orientation
ignores product development and produces a stale and disjointed line of
“metoo” products. For years, Xerox took advantage of its
patented technology to make and sell high quality copy machines. Its
focus on current sales and profits allowed it to ignore innovative
developments in computers at its Palo Alto Research Center.
Source:D. Miller, The Icarus Paradox: How
Exceptional Companies Bring About Their Own Downfall (New York: Harper
Business. 1990).Read The Icarus Paradox: Trajectories of
Decline and address the following questions. How can a corporation keep from
sliding into the Decline stage of the organizational life cycle? Based on
current research, provide an example of a corporation that may be experiencing
the Icarus Paradox. Please be sure to explain why.

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