Large Enterprises and Small Enterprises, each have their own advantages and dis-advantages.
One of the remarkable characteristics that I noticed about smaller enterprises is the amount of dedication you see in the employees of the enterprise. Probably because a lot of these smaller enterprises, starting from the small mom-and-pop stores, are usually manned by family or friends who more often than not know the family. This I feel creates a sense of ownership, a greater sense of commitment. Contrast this with a Large Enterprise – Enterprises with thousands of employees. How many employees of such enterprises feel this commitment? How many would be motivated enough to go to great lengths to explore innovations and to correct inefficiencies?
We can see these large enterprises continuously struggle and invest in making up for the distance of the owner from the customer touchpoint. This shows in their investments in loyalty programs, in building reach-out apps, in vast data mining exercises to ask who is my customer, etc. All these are basically doing the same thing that an owner standing in the store front would do quite naturally – in a typical greeting or chat up with the customer walking in.
As a civilization, we have been continously driven to find better ways to make a large group of individuals work together – public stock companies, conglomerates, matrix structures, etc are products of this drive. I think the time has come for us to think about the next level of innovation in these lines – innovation that would not just help get more people work together but would help them work with a sense of ownership. I would like to call this innovation as the ‘Totally Owned Enterprise’. But, the how do you build this ‘Totally Owned Enterprise’ is still a question. I sense that there is no global answer to this. For some industries it might suit to build a KPI structure from top to down and link employee pays with that. For some industries it might suit to let the enterprise itself work as an ecosystem of individual companies or entities. I guess there is more to explore in this area.