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Workforce Downsizing and Shareholder Value Orientation among Executive Managers at Large U.S. Firms

Emerging Conceptions of Work, Management and the Labor Market

ISBN: 978-1-78714-460-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-459-0

ISSN: 0277-2833

Publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

In this study, I explore the link between workforce downsizing and the predominance of a corporate governance model that espouses a shareholder value maximization principle. Specifically, I examine how top managers’ shareholder value orientation affects the adoption of a downsizing strategy among large, publicly traded corporations in the United States. An analysis of CEOs’ letters to shareholders indicates that firms with CEOs who use language that espouses the shareholder value principle tend to have a higher rate of layoffs, after controlling for various indicators of the firm’s adherence to the shareholder value principle. The finding suggests that corporate governance models, particularly those advocated by powerful organizational elites, have a significant impact on workers by shaping corporate strategies toward the workforce. The key actors in this process were top managers who embraced the new management ideology and implemented corporate strategy to pursue shareholder value maximization.

Keywords

Citation

Shin, T. (2017), "Workforce Downsizing and Shareholder Value Orientation among Executive Managers at Large U.S. Firms", Emerging Conceptions of Work, Management and the Labor Market (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 30), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 185-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-283320170000030008

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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