Fat and Mean

The Corporate Squeeze of Working Americans and the
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ISBN-13:
9781439136706
Einband:
EPUB
Seiten:
336
Autor:
David M. Gordon
eBook Typ:
Adobe Digital Editions
eBook Format:
EPUB
Kopierschutz:
Adobe DRM [Hard-DRM]
Sprache:
Englisch
Beschreibung:

Since the early 1980s, economic experts have recommended "e;downsizing"e; as the best way for U.S. corporations to remain competitive. Reducing unnecessary staff would lower costs, increase profits, and transform these companies into lean, mean production machines. As many American businesses pursued this strategyoften in the wake of mergers and acquisitions that left them with an unwieldy layer of middle managementand raised their bottom line, it seemed the experts were right. Yet as David M. Gordon shows in this iconoclastic book, most of them have really only gone halfway. They are "e;mean,"e; but far from lean.Tracing the overall employment patterns of the past decade, Gordon shows that most American companies actually employ more managers and supervisors than ever before. These ever-increasing functionaries control company payrolls and pay themselves generous salariesat the expense of average workers. For despite a steadily growing economy the real wages of the American worker have been falling for the past 20 years. To explain this decline and the much-debated "e;wage gap"e; that resulted, pundits and professors invoke various causes ranging from the flow of production jobs overseas to the average worker's lack of the technological skills needed in today's "e;knowledge economy."e; But Gordon exposes the single greatest factor in this decline, a corporate strategy that penalizes line workers and hinders businesses from competing effectively in world markets: the simultaneous overstaffing of management hierarchies and the inadequate compensation of workers.Instead of sharing profits with their employees, thus encouraging them to work harder, management has more often opted to prod workers by instilling fear of layoffs. Gordon unerringly plots the shortsighted and disastrous course of U.S. corporations, and documents the tremendous social and personal costs to their employees. Yet in addition to telling the harsh truth about downsizing, he suggests policies to ensure fairer business practices. Wages can increaseindeed, they mustas the economy begins to perform more efficiency.U.S. corporations have become fat and mean. They need to become lean and decentnot just for the sake of their workers, but for the sake of their competitive advantage. This provocative and original book shows how they can.
Since the early 1980s, economic experts have recommended "downsizing" as the best way for U.S. corporations to remain competitive. Reducing unnecessary staff would lower costs, increase profits, and transform these companies into lean, mean production machines. As many American businesses pursued this strategy-often in the wake of mergers and acquisitions that left them with an unwieldy layer of middle management-and raised their bottom line, it seemed the experts were right. Yet as David M. Gordon shows in this iconoclastic book, most of them have really only gone halfway. They are "mean," but far from lean.
List of FiguresList of TablesAcknowledgments IntroductionPART I. CORPORATE BLOAT AND FALLING WAGES1. The Wage Squeeze2. The Bureaucratic Burden3. The Stick StrategyPART II. PAYING THE PRICE4. Lives and Livelihoods5. Values and Jobs6. We Take the Low RoadPART III. TRIMMING THE BLOAT EASING THE SQUEEZE7. Skills Mismatch or Globalization?8. Wielding the Stick9. Can We Take the High Road?NotesBibliographyIndex
Since the early 1980s, economic experts have recommended "downsizing" as the best way for U.S. corporations to remain competitive. Reducing unnecessary staff would lower costs, increase profits, and transform these companies into lean, mean production machines. As many American businesses pursued this strategy-often in the wake of mergers and acquisitions that left them with an unwieldy layer of middle management-and raised their bottom line, it seemed the experts were right. Yet as David M. Gordon shows in this iconoclastic book, most of them have really only gone halfway. They are "mean," but far from lean.Tracing the overall employment patterns of the past decade, Gordon shows that most American companies actually employ more managers and supervisors than ever before. These ever-increasing functionaries control company payrolls and pay themselves generous salaries-at the expense of average workers. For despite a steadily growing economy the real wages of the American worker have been falling for the past 20 years. To explain this decline and the much-debated "wage gap" that resulted, pundits and professors invoke various causes ranging from the flow of production jobs overseas to the average worker's lack of the technological skills needed in today's "knowledge economy." But Gordon exposes the single greatest factor in this decline, a corporate strategy that penalizes line workers and hinders businesses from competing effectively in world markets: the simultaneous overstaffing of management hierarchies and the inadequate compensation of workers.Instead of sharing profits with their employees, thus encouraging them to work harder, management has more often opted to prod workers by instilling fear of layoffs. Gordon unerringly plots the shortsighted and disastrous course of U.S. corporations, and documents the tremendous social and personal costs to their employees. Yet in addition to telling the harsh truth about downsizing, he suggests policies to ensure fairer business practices. Wages can increase-indeed, they must-as the economy begins to perform more efficiency.U.S. corporations have become fat and mean. They need to become lean and decent-not just for the sake of their workers, but for the sake of their competitive advantage. This provocative and original book shows how they can.

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