The Business Culture of Silicon Valley:
Is It a Model for the Future?
André Delbecq and Joseph W. Weiss
In 1979 the senior author moved from the Midwest to Silicon Valley. At the time both "high tech" as an industry and Silicon Valley as a geographical region had obtained mythical proportions in the business press. The success of Silicon Valley with many companies showing annual growth rates of 100 to 300 percent stood in stark contrast to the industrial Midwest suffering from a severe recession. "Smokestack" America looked with envy toward Silicon Valley. The question was frequently asked: What makes Silicon Valley dynamic? Are there lessons for the reindustrialization of older American industries? Should other regions seek to spawn "little Silicon gulches?"
The purpose of this chapter is to focus on Silicon Valley as a business culture; to try to capture those elements of the business culture which differentiate this region from other business regions. In our view, regional differences are worthy of examination when exploring the compatibility of certain types of enterprise of industrial niches with geographical locations.
As Toffler ( 1983, 22) stated: "Today as we look as Kyushu in Southern Japan, or Scotland, or Quebec, or Texas, we find regional economies that become as large and complex as national economies were only a few decades ago . . . more and more these regional economies break out of national economic frameworks and demand to go their own way." This perspective that regions are critical influences is shared by Garreau ( 1981, 1) and Naisbitt ( 1984, 116-34), both of whom argue that North
Reprinted by permission of the publisher, from The Future of Organizations, edited by Jerald Hage ( Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, D. C. Heath and Company, copyright 1988, D. C. Heath and Company).