Am currently reading Built to Last : Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. It is an interesting read primarily because of the fact that the conclusions drawn from the study can be easily applied to those companies who are trying to make their mark in the Free/Libre Open Source Software Development sphere.
The following paragraph would summarise what the book tries to get across using the various examples.
The core myth, according to the authors, is that visionary companies must start with a great product and be pushed into the future by charismatic leaders. There are examples of that pattern, they admit: Johnson & Johnson, for one. But there are also just too many counterexamples–in fact, the majority of the “visionary” companies, including giants like 3M, Sony, and TI, don’t fit the model. They were characterized by total lack of an initial business plan or key idea and by remarkably self-effacing leaders. Collins and Porras are much more impressed with something else they shared: an almost cult-like devotion to a “core ideology” or identity, and active indoctrination of employees into “ideologically commitment” to the company.