There are more than a couple of Star Wars writeups on e2, but I feel compelled to throw my hat into the ring, because I feel like no one has quite hit the nail on the head. Some people claim the movies are a rip off of an earlier concept. Others claim that Star Wars is some sort of thinly veiled religious metaphor. There's even a node claiming that Star Wars is part of the International gay conspiracy (please stop throwing things). While obviously there is some merit to these theories, I would like to advance another which is a much better fit.
You see, you can learn everything you need to know about business and management from watching The Trilogy.
Consider, if you will, the following:
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Here is the scenario. Two opposing factions are competing for control.
On one side, you have the hands-down favorite. This 1,000 pound gorilla has gained total control of its environment using sheer power. It stifles competition as it sprouts up and this has earned it near monopoly status. It seeks to control the flow of all information. Its command structure is hierarchical and inflexible. The people in leadership positions have obtained these positions by out-surviving the other guys. The little people have no choice but to follow orders or else. They prefer to use their resources to build lumbering monstrosities with debilitating defects.
I could be talking about The Empire, General Motors, or Microsoft.
On the other side, we have the underdog. They are agile. They realize that their enterprise lives or dies by the flow of information. They don't control much, but they also don't let their hands get tied by old strategy when the situation changes. Leadership is determined by merit. A rank and file member that shows his value in times of adversity will quickly find that he has a hand in steering the organization. They favor modest tools that let them strike quickly when the time is right.
Obviously, this is The Rebel Alliance. It could be any number of knowledge economy businesses, maybe Google. It is certainly not GM.
For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.
Ah ha, you see this is interesting. The Force has a major influence on the path of destiny in Star Wars. You see, The Force flows through all living things and it gives the Jedi their power. It binds the galaxy together. It enables the Jedi to defeat enemies that are physically stronger or have greater numbers. In fact, it allows the Jedi to detect and redirect threats that otherwise could be deadly. Jedi can even use The Force to perceive what should be far beyond their immediate physical experience. The Force, you see, is information or knowledge. And the Jedi are the ultimate knowledge warriors. A manager (or General) would be wise to trust such valuable resources and make the best use of them he can.
Also, Mace Windu is a bad motherfucker.
Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!
As you can probably guess, all of this has a lot to do with the defeat of the Death Star. The gigantic space station was doomed by its own complexity. It was probably backward compatible with every other space station going back to the beginning of the Old Republic. No one person could ever understand all of the pieces, and so a critical flaw was missed by everyone until the station was already in use. Missed, of course, by everyone other than the Rebels. One single highly skilled person was able to perceive what seems beyond perception and destroyed a significant portion of The Empire's capital budget with a snub fighter. A pretty beat-up looking snub fighter.
The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
In the end, The Empire's inflexibility and irrational willingness to devote tremendous resources to wasteful ego exercises damned it to failure. And when things started to get bad, the situation was made much worse as once trusted underlings turned traitor as soon as the moment of opportunity arrived. Perhaps if The Emperor had been more collaborative with Darth Vader, and less of a dictator, Mr. Vader would have been less inclined to throw him down a reactor shaft.