I have worked on projects for companies which in my opinion are extremes in both worlds.
In the first world, companies have their policies, procedures, guidelines, management systems, safety systems, quality standards, engineering procedures and many more. A new employee may take months or even years to familiarize with the system.
Quality systems organizations require certified companies to adhere to these documents that in any situation wherein there may be some variations required in order to complete a project, new procedures or new documents need to be written. This is a natural phenomenon called evolution of documents.
A good analogy of these is a civilized society where the people in the government need to create more laws to enable them to govern better.
In the third world, in general, there are no procedures, policies or systems in place. In other words, "let's cross the bridge when we get there". Most of the times, project cost skyrockets due to change of policies during project implementation. Notwithstanding the vendors taking advantage on a weak system.
On the employee perspective, there are no rules to follow, do your job according to your (sound) judgement. Every task is customized that even similar documents may be presented differently as these are prepared by different personalities.
This is comparable to the aboriginal society where no written laws are required or in placed. It will always be dependent on the judgement of each member on the society.
In the former type of company, it is a pain trying to be compliant to all documents in the system. While on the later type, it's a free choice world. In any case, the means justify the end. No argument on that!