I, too, wonder about the future of American business. Management seems to be dominated by people who have learned to speak a particular language of art (one I've never mastered), but who understand little else. Promotions seem social.
A few years ago, I was between TV jobs, so I worked for a while in the copy center at the local branch of a huge office supply company. The company's stated goal was to be the largest office supply company in the world. While I worked there, the company stock dropped dramatically - about 40% if I remember correctly.
The telephone in the copy center was one of only two in the store that could dial out long distance, so when the regional vice president visited the store, she would come to the copy center to use the telephone. One day, as the stock price was in free fall, she was using the telephone and throwing a fit, yelling at the person on the other end. She slammed the telephone down and turned to me as the closest victim.
She began to yell the kind of vague generalities that managers use, "You've got to shape up, or people will be shipping out around here." Stuff like that.
Being a geezer, not a frightened 18-year old, I turned, gave her my prison stare, and said, "What has you so upset?"
She said, "Haven't you been keeping up with the stock price?" waving her arms above her head and tossing her hair. I actually had, but I doubt any of the other, young associates had. I said, "It's in freefall. I can be stupid sometimes, so explain to me how I have anything to do with the stock price."
She said, "You have to be concerned with profitability, and I don't see enough of that around here."
I said, "Wait a minute. I'm just a goober in the copy center. I don't have anything to do with deciding what products the company sells, I don't decide who we buy those products from, what we pay for them or how much we sell them for. I don't decide where the stores will be located, I don't negotiate the rent for those buildings. I don't decide what salaries will be paid. I don't decide what machines I use here in the copy center or what's paid to lease the machines. I don't even get to decide what clothes I wear when I work here. The only thing I can do is make copies as well and quickly as the equipment will allow and charge the customers the prices that are set by the corporation. Again, how do I have anything to do with profitibility?"
Her jaw dropped. She said nothing and ran out of the copy center. The corporate reaction to the stock price fall was to cut the number of employees. Although the corporation claims to take great pride in customer service, in my store we no longer had enough employees to properly serve the customer and we lost business.
Sorry to go on for so long, but that's my personal experience with modern corporate alleged thinking.