Argues that recent initiatives by industrial management were directed more toward short-term gains than improving efficiency.
In this timely work, Dan Krier examines the relationship between two phenomena that dominated the economic scene in the late twentieth century: the rising power of financial markets and the restructuring of American industry. He argues that corporate governance was transformed during this period into speculative teams of stock-optioned executives and activist owners. These teams encouraged a vigorous restructuring of American industry through corporate buyouts, takeovers, reengineering, and downsizing. Often portrayed in business discourse as initiatives to enhance the efficiency and long-range profitability of industrial operations, these corporate changes were, instead, primarily what Krier describes as speculative management practices, used to manipulate the trading price of corporate securities, even at the expense of operational efficiency and long-term profitability.
Krier also analyzes social intermediaries—institutions that connect industrial firms to security markets and allow them to interact. He focuses on corporate governance structures composed of stock-optioned top managers, big owners, and their representatives on corporate boards; financial accounting rules and practices; and the business media that analyze corporate actions and results.
Dan Krier is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University.