Most of us already know that the large vertically integrated enterprise of just 10 or 15 years ago has mostly disappeared. By measure of headcount, many “big” businesses have assiduously grown smaller to focus on brand, marketing, product development and product extension. Services, partners and channels are widely replacing departments and subsidiaries as mechanisms of growth and cost containment.

That means many fewer management ladder careers at businesses like General Electric (and even Cisco and Intel), but in a different context, these are ancient topics.

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