Micromotives and macrobehavior
Most of the narratives that seem to spring up around the issue of large organizations trouble with innovation revolves around intent (hence the “old fashioned” and “change-averse” descriptors). The assumption being that, since innovation is such a good thing, somebody must be trying to stop it. They are “covering their ass” or defending their turf.
I don’t want to say that doesn’t happen, but if that were the primary reason, it would be a pretty easy problem to fix. A change in management would solve it immediately. However, that doesn’t reflect what happens in the real world. As Jim Collins points out in Good to Great, bringing in a CEO from the outside rarely results in positive change.