Revenge of the Managers: Labor Cost-Cutting and the Paradoxical Resurgence of Managerialism in the Shareholder Value Era, 1984 to 2001

Goldstein, Adam
April 2012
American Sociological Review;Apr2012, Vol. 77 Issue 2, p268
Academic Journal
Institutional changes associated with the rise of shareholder value capitalism have had seemingly contradictory effects on managers and managerialism in the United States economy. Financial critiques of inefficient corporate bureaucracies and the resulting wave of downsizing, mergers, and computerization subjected managers to unprecedented layoffs during the 1980s and 1990s as firms sought to become lean and mean. Yet the proportion of managers and their average compensation continued to increase during this period. How did the rise of anti-managerial investor ideologies and strategies oriented toward reducing companies’ labor costs coincide with increasing numbers of ever more highly paid managerial employees? This article examines the paradoxical relationship between shareholder value and managerialism by analyzing the effects of shareholder value strategies on the growth of managerial employment and managerial earnings in 59 major industries in the U.S. private sector from 1984 to 2001. Results from industry-level dynamic panel models show that layoffs, mergers, computerization, deunionization, and the increasing predominance of publicly traded firms all contributed to broad-based increases in the number of managerial positions and the valuation of managerial labor. Results are generally consistent with David Gordon’s (1996) fat and mean thesis.


Related Articles

  • Construction costs: The economic upswing may bring new upward pressures. Stewart, James // Architectural Record;Jul1983, Vol. 171 Issue 8, p49 

    The article discusses factors affecting the increasing construction costs in the U.S. According to a report based on the surveys by the McGraw-Hill Cost Information Systems Division, the economic recovery is putting upward pressure on construction costs. Increasing materials prices and...

  • Consumers take comfort from featherbed options. Gill, David // Home Textiles Today;02/21/2000, Vol. 21 Issue 24, p1 

    Focuses on the growing popularity of featherbeds in the United States. Product demand and its relation to the performance of the economy; Reasons why featherbeds are becoming popular; Percentage of households owning featherbeds.

  • Old friends make plans to deal with downturn. Epperson, Jerry // Furniture/Today;04/09/2001, Vol. 25 Issue 31, p28 

    Comments on the impact of the economic downturn in the United States on the home furnishings industry in 2001. Inability of the retail base to adjust to the changes in the population; Effect of the growth of importers on the capacity of domestic manufacturers; Lessons from the High Point market...

  • Survey warns: Don't look like your hurting.  // Furniture/Today;05/21/2001, Vol. 25 Issue 36, p72 

    Highlights a survey by George S. May International which cautions retailers against allowing customers to perceive that their store is having difficulties in the wake of the economic slowdown in the United States in 2001. Businesses most damaged by the soft economy; Growth-oriented actions...

  • Economy & crime: It's all relative. Zalud, Bill // SDM: Security Distributing & Marketing;Jan1999, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p107 

    Focuses on the top sales drivers of the security systems industry in the United States. Revenue growth of dealers and installer firms in 1998; Major role played by the overall United States economy.

  • Consumer Confidence Index Falls in Nov. Siegel, Gary E. // Bond Buyer;11/29/2000, Vol. 334 Issue 31026, p2 

    Reports on the performance of the United States consumer confidence index for November 2000. Anxiety over future economic conditions; Pessimism in the employment sector; Income expectations of consumers.

  • Jobless Claims Off 23,000 to 333,000. Floyd, Daniel F. // Bond Buyer;12/29/2000, Vol. 334 Issue 31047, p2 

    Reports on the decline in the number of first-time applications for state unemployment benefits in the United States in the week ended December 23, 2000. Tightening of the labor market in the country; Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate int he week ended December 16.

  • Dec. CPI Up 0.2%; Core Rate Up 0.1%. Floyd, Daniel F. // Bond Buyer;01/18/2001, Vol. 335 Issue 31059, p2 

    Reports on the growth of the overall consumer price index in the United States in December 2000, according to the Labor Department. Factors contributing to the growth; Increase in the core rate for the month.

  • Consumer Confidence Falls to 114.4 in Jan. Siegel, Gary E. // Bond Buyer;01/31/2001, Vol. 335 Issue 31067, p2 

    Informs that the consumer confidence index in the United States fell in January 2001, according to the Conference Board. Implications for the U.S. economy.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics