Lean And Mean: The Changing Landscape Of Corporate Power In The Age Of Flexibility

Front Cover
Basic Books, May 12, 1994 - Business & Economics - 324 pages
"Downsizing" seems to be the (widely applauded) order of the day for giant firms like General Motors, IBM, and General Electric. Is big business on the way out? Are small firms better at generating new jobs and spurring technological innovation? In this myth-shattering book, one of our leading political economists argues that, contrary to prevailing wisdom, the big firm not only is alive and well but is becoming more flexible and efficient. Smaller companies have an important role to play - as suppliers, as proving grounds for specialized designers, and as valuable sources of employment in low income communities - but long-term economic growth lies ultimately where it always has: with the country's largest, most resourceful global companies. This book shows how, in response to international competition, big companies are becoming leaner. Powerful multinational corporations are focusing on their core businesses and contracting out other activities, forming strategic alliances with domestic and foreign partners. Drawing on case studies and empirical research from the United States, Japan, and Europe, Bennett Harrison shows that smaller companies are not responsible for most of the new jobs being created (which may be a good thing, since they pay substantially lower wages and benefits) and are not using, let alone developing, the most up-to-date technologies. Lean and Mean is the first book to help us understand, and learn to live with, the brave new world of business organization, where economic activities are decentralized but where big firms continue to be in control. How to reconcile the private advantages of networks led by these big firms with the public goals of ensuring high laborstandards and a just distribution of income and how to upgrade the capabilities of the small firms are the great business challenges of our day.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LEAN AND MEAN: The Changing Landscape of Corporate Power in the Age of Flexibility

User Review  - Kirkus

An arresting albeit donnish, reappraisal of the forces driving the global economy, from a man of the left who minces few words about his progressive agenda. Citing credible data—compiled by Dun ... Read full review

Contents

BIG FIRMS SMALL FIRMS NETWORK FIRMS
3
Global Capitalism Why Small Firms Do Not Drive Economic Growth
26
REASSESSING THE IDEA
35
Copyright

20 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information