In aerospace (two separate places), it was common to hear the old refrain every month, that the Gunny used to use in the radar shop, that we needed to give a '110% effort' to make the month's quota, but it was _every_ month (and some of these guys were indeed ex-NCOs, shoulda known better!)
Organizations without a feedback path are running what in electronics, is called "open loop", and all too common.
When I worked for the Swedes (_that_ phone company), they tried to actively steer the 'culture of the company' with Swedish contract managers (two years, IIRC) and Yank peons. Also no concept of the difference between 'layoff' and 'firing' in the US. *Sigh*.
@mikea105: I had a completely opposite experience. The only really large company I worked for was great--good bosses, good benefits, clear expectations. Most of the other small companies were hell. The bosses treated us like scum, and just like PHB, were more interested in getting us in trouble than encouraging production. A couple took delight in sabotaging projects or making impossible demands. One screamed all the time and put her face right up to mine. Another would tell me to do something, I would repeat it three times, and then after it was done, she told me it was all wrong.
I really don't think it's the size of a company, I think it's the culture.
Under PHB styled management there is no innovation, there is only stagnation.... it gets to a point where the only way to innovate anymore is to buy smaller innovating companies and suck all the innovation out of them until all that is left a carbon copied department doomed to face the same stagnation.