Most older corporations have a structure and a modus operandi derived from the past. They are completely out of line with today's agile value-stream thinking and cybercorp mechanisms. The tragedy about many failed attempts at reengineering is that what they sought to achieve was in fact the right thing to do. The failure condemned them to obsolete operations. Nurit Cohen, a clinical psychologist, became what she describes as an "organizational shrink." She and William Cohen wrote an entertaining book called The Paranoid Corporation. Asking readers whether they have ever thought an organization's behavior was crazy, they conclude, "You may have been closer to the truth than you realized."

A paranoid corporation is one in which fear has become pervasive. Employees find the work environment hostile; few people are to be trusted. In such a corporation, performance goes to pieces.

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