Évolution de la rémunération des dirigeants et transformation de leur légitimité

Chapas, Benjamin
January 2005
Revue des Sciences de Gestion;jan-avr2005, Issue 211-212, p143
Academic Journal
Research on CEO compensation has a long academic history and the subject has recently sparked the interest of the public and the media who make of it a compelling part of current economic trends. This enthusiasm is reinforced by the generalization of stock-options, an element crucial to the understanding of the complex mechanisms of CEO compensation and the evolution of the owner/manager equation within a framework of corporate governance democratization. Within this framework, the control of CEO compensation is no longer a taboo subject. On the contrary, it appears as an important stake in the evolution of the power relationship between CEOs and shareholders. In the article, this evolution is examined through the lens of the crisis of legitimacy which strikes the CEOs of public companies. The public denunciation of CEO compensation appears as the result of the questioning of their legitimacy and of the underlying technocratic principles. We discuss how the evolution of CEO compensation accompanies their awareness of this crisis, with the reaction from their part consisting in the integration of the principal elements of that criticism. In the new configuration, we stress the crucial importance of the market which becomes the new "common superior principle" used as the basis of the process legitimating the CEOs and allowing the justification of their remunerations which, paradoxically, continue to grow at a high pace. However, we add some caveats as to the possibility for CEOs to mobilize this commercial convention within the framework of a criticism stemming from various actors and renewed around new topics and stakes.


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