THE MANAGERS: Corporate Life in America by Diane Rothbard Margolis

THE MANAGERS: Corporate Life in America

Email this review


The corporation gets it again. Professor Margolis (Sociology, Univ. of Connecticut) argues that the corporate practice of frequent job transfers for rising executives forces the manager to surrender all independence, threatens his family life and demeans his spouse, and creates a class of professional nomads unbound to any community and uninterested in local politics. Based on interviews with managers and their wives living in one upstate Connecticut town and working for the headquarters of one major corporation, and also, for comparison, on interviews with members of the same town's Democratic and Republican party committees, Margolis concludes that an initial pruning process selects out those managers who are willing to give their all for the company. ""Strategic resources"" all lie with the corporation: through coercion, through barring access to alternative sources of power, through maintaining the individual's need for further status and security, it convinces the would-be executive that ""up or out"" implies ""up and away""--all transfers must be accepted. Successive moves bring increased rewards for the husband, increased penalties for wives and children; any ""human disorders"" that result are blamed ""not on the corporation but on the ailing family members themselves."" Margolis deplores the loss of ""Gemeinschaft"" as managerial families are forced to live like renters, ever ready to move and resell recently acquired homes. Yet, while supposedly offering a feminist critique of the corporation, her recommendations are appallingly vague: her one hope is that outsiders will rein in the corporate powers. An overstated account, which ignores the extent to which individuals and communities choose to make corporate goals their own.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Morrow