I just read a recent Harvard Business Review article about how companies like Apple, Microsoft and Nokia face the same challenges past greats like Polaroid, DEC, and Atari faced in their day: How to stay fresh.
(By the way, I access the HBR and other great magazines through something called "Business Source Premier," a free service of many public libraries. Check your local library to see if you can get in. You get pretty amazing access to top-tier business periodicals)
The point of the story, "Embracing Uncertainty," by Alan MacCormack, is that big, successful companies once known for their innovation can fall prey to identifying "best practices" and designing "standard operating procedures." As MacCormack says,
"This can make a company wildly efficient at what it does today. But it has a serious downside: an avoidance of novelty that can eat at the very soul of a company."
I love that idea of a company being "wildly efficient." But yes, the more you screw down the way you do things, the harder it might be to change. Maybe this falls into the realm of "great being the enemy of good." It's against human nature to disrupt what's working. So you better have a big incentive to make it worth people's while to go against their instincts.