I have been developing software for ~15 years having been employed with only 4 companies, but 3 of those were consulting companies and as such I have worked at dozens of companies. Some at CMM levels (above 1) and some ISO and some with aboslutely no process.
It's been my experience that most companies that want process improvement view it as a way to protect the company. Management's view of process has a primary goal of documenting everything. Management theorizes that if this occurs, then employees can be swapped, let go, hired with minimal interruption to the company's profits.
Management's secondary goal is to gain consistency for their product. This is a very distant secondary goal compared to the primary goal.
Unfortunately for Management, Engineers by their nature aren't stupid. They recognize what's happening when there is a "process initiative" started at a company. It's an effort to lessen the impact of any one individual's contribution to the company as a whole. In order for a process improvement program (PIP) to gain wide acceptance at a company, the Management of a company has to show its employees that they are valued and will continue to be valued and demonstrate to them that this faith is justified by deeds and not just words. Otherwise it truly is just a mechanism that accelerates the outsourcing of labor. Of course, often Management finds out too late that individual contributions do matter, not all Engineers are created equal, some are more "equal" than others. But by then it's too late, they've left and started their own company to compete against them. (Thus starting the entire process over again - Matrix style).
Consumers of products from process-based companies, generally win, either through better quality and lower cost, or just lower cost (because the labor was outsourced). It's difficult for the consumer to know which occurred.
Always remember a quote from someone famous: "The ideal company has 0 employees".
The other irony WRT to "process improvement" that I have experienced, first hand is that Management is often exempted from it. That's usually a bad omen.