Yep, Goober Dave has it.
Most managers mistake activity for productivity.
They mistake engineers sitting doing nothing obvious as doing nothing.
It never occurs to them that simply thinking is a productive activity.
This is because most managers do not and are not required to think.
They have management handbooks which tell them what to do. Mostly they write reports and in any given situation they act as directed by the little book.
Sales down? fire a few people and rein in overheads.
Put up prices to compensate for falling sales. The fact that this further depresses sales is something that escapes them but it is the standard response dictated by their handbooks.
It doesn't matter. If sales fall further, they cut back on R&D, cancel a few product lines, and embark on a mission to create the illusion of profitability for just long enough to sell the company to some other company which then ends a few more products, rationalises, moves manufacturing etc and generally ends up with the brand name and precious little else.
This are conditioned or programmed responses for every possible situation.
There is a great deal of difficulty finding good managers so most management is expected to be pretty much useless for anything else and the system by which companies survive is to control the way they respond.
It is dangerous to let managers think for themselves and they thus are unaware of the value of thinking by others.
SUre, there are situations where god managers emerge and shine briefly before the system can eliminate them and there are companies that shine bright for a while before they crash and burn.
Kodak is the latest.
A company that grew massively but somewhere along the line lost the plot as all companies do eventually.
Apple....how long will it now last?
What happens is these companies expand beyond the ability of society and education to find and educate a sufficiency of good managers.
The same is true of many aspects of most (all?)businesses.
Sales men are trained to sell anything.
They have methods not insights or technical skills. Modern sales engineers can be little more than monkey see monkey do practitioners who are able to function using computer selection programs. Take them outside of the established and they are lost.
You would think that in all this, every company would be alert for smart clever capable people. The truth is that in only a few companies are such people valued. In most other companies they are feared as the white wolf.
For smart clever people the best thing to do to survive is pretend to be dull and stupid lest they stir fear amongst the idiots.
In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king... and the blind will seek every opportunity to take away that one eye.