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Managerial Pathologies that led to the demise of DEC




Seidman College of Business

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This paper questions three frequently claimed explanations for the demise of one of America's icons in the area of computer evolution and usage. Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was a one pioneering giant, second to IBM for three decades between the 1960's and 1990's. Then it was divided and sold first to Compaq and later to Hewlett Paker (HP). Many writers presented several explanations for such demise. These included: lack of vision since 1980's; experimentation with somecontroversial organizational structures; the cult of a domineering personality of its initiator and long term president; rampant managerial pathologies such as unplanned growth, status, territorial imperative and stagnant vision. The paper critically explores these explanations and reaches the conclusion that it was the confluence of two main factors: myopic vision and a matrix type of organizational structure. The methodology include the writers first-hand experience as the Strategic Planning Manager of the General International Area, and Manager of the Business Management Department; plus interviewing a structured sample of former DEC managers and decision makers.. Contributions of this research include: managerial pathologies, restructuring and reorganization; organizational behavior; international business and strategic planning.

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Las Vegas, NV

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