It is interesting that the whole point of most organizational effort is to promote average behavior.
We have words like initiation, mentor, management, targets, corporate governance, operating guidelines and so on. But the spirit behind most of these is to ensure that employees behave in a predictable way most of the times – which, in turn, mostly means in line with the least common denominator.
Not that one can blame anyone for this. Large organizations are more powerful than many countries. They control an enormous amount of resources. You obviously can not have a cowboy culture where individual employees can run riot and do as they please without conforming to the overall direction.
But then companies also like to become innovative and break new ground, and that’s where problems start to appear. Anything which is significantly innovative is going to break convention almost by definition – and so it is swimming upstream from day one. The organizational norms designed to inhibit individual adventurism will also inhibit individual brilliance.
Of course, companies have evolved several mechanisms to counter this. Organizations that depend on innovation as part of their strategy have carefully come up with methods to avoid this trap and provide space for controlled adventurism that might lead to innovation. In many cases these methods work very well I’m sure.
But even so, given how the odds are stacked against innovation in large entities, I’m amazed that any innovation takes place in such places.