by Thomas F. O'Boyle ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 16, 1998
In the grand tradition of muckraking journalists, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette assistant managing editor O'Boyle renders unto GE and its single-minded boss a thoroughgoing lambasting. General Electric, founded by the mighty Edison, was once hailed as an example of the best in American corporate management. That was then. Now, O'Boyle reports, it's a case study in naked aggression. If the GE workforce is, as the company once claimed, a family, it has become a dysfunctional one. The concept of loyalty is openly derided. Whenever increased profit goals are missed, for any reason, heads roll. O'Boyle's charges are wide-ranging. Jobs were lost when GE stopped much manufacturing amd replaced tangible consumer goods with financial products. The merchandise they still assemble often does not work well; research and development, once a proud though expensive function, has been inadequate. GE polluted the Hudson River with PCBs; nuclear waste was dumped unshielded. The Department of Defense was bilked. Prices of industrial diamonds were illegally and brazenly fixed. RCA was captured and eviscerated. The Wall Street firm of Kidder, Peabody was destroyed by mismanagement. All this the author lays on the desk of Jack Welch, a CEO who, like many others, sees no higher than the bottom line, one whose executive style mimics von Clausewitz and von Moltke. As wages to workers are sacrificed for dividends to shareholders, the cost in human terms is high, indeed, with early deaths and blighted lives. Said one divorced GE wife, ""You talk about bringing good things to life. GE brought shit to our lives."" The author convincingly laments ""our lack of compassion and sensitivity, our outright cruelty to one another"" in today's business world. (And the recent bear market can only exacerbate the trend). A carefully documented, deeply researched, and impassioned indictment of a man, a giant corporation, and a way of doing business at terrible costs.
Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1998
Page Count: 464
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998
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