Microsoft: A Business-School Case Study

Recently Vanity Fair released an article talking about Microsoft and some terrible management that will potentially cost it its entire future.  In the article some key executives discussed how innovation was stifled at every turn and a “stack ranking” management system put every employee on edge.

When I read this article I was shocked.  First, generally, one would think Microsoft has the best managers and executives capable of leading their employees and then second, for the appearance that Microsoft management seemingly “has it all together.”  This article shows that nothing could be further from the truth.  But why would a company that has millions of dollars and klout enough to recruit the best of the best, end up having so many internal issues?  

As the article describes, Microsoft was raking in the dough, the newest technology, and the newest sensation in the tech world at one point – but at it’s helm the management didn’t recruit, support, and foster a cooperative environment, so it failed.  It doesn’t matter how much money its making.  Oh sure, employees will run toward the idea of working for places like Mac, Microsoft, Google, etc. but the question is will the work at their best and will they stay?  

Microsoft employees indicated in the article that innovation was stifled for the sake of working on “instant profitability.” I can only imagine how these creative and leading edge employees, who were hired to come in and help take Microsoft to the next level, felt once they realized what the reality became.  What message was the management sending about the corporate culture of Microsoft?

I’m unsure of the full story, but if these employees were recruited and hired with the idea they would be working with executive management in a creative and collaborative environment to make new products and ideas that change the world – then the management better deliver on that message.  It’s just realistic job preview 101.

From what some of the ex-employees have said, many ideas that were tossed around were dismissed instantly due to management’s lack of knowledge or vision (like an e-reader or a Facebook-like messenger).  Isn’t that what they hired these marketing people for? Vision!?!

It goes to show that not all multi-million dollar companies work perfectly and bad management can affect any company.

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