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The velvet coffin culture

Posted by Lee on December 01, 2004

They were busy trying to dismantle the dead, "velvet coffin" culture he helped build.

= It must be an euphemistic or rather sarcastic expression, but what exactly does 'velvet coffin' mean? Is this an Americanism? What sort of corporate culture is this referring to? A rather bureaucratic, tall and inflexible + non-agile dinosaur-like organisation as in the sense of 'making elephants dance'? Is this expression used only to indicate a corporate culture? Any other possible usage?