chapter  13
18 Pages

Meaner Managers: A Consequence of Income Inequality

WithSreedhari D. Desai, Arthur P. Brief, Jennifer M. George

In this chapter, we examine how the widening income gap in the United States between top managers and their employees contributes to an increase in concentration of power at the top, resulting in dysfunctional consequences within organizations. We argue that this growing power concentration at the top causes managers to distance themselves from lower level workers through the use of various disengagement mechanisms such as objectification of those with less power, stereotyping, and automatic information processing. It also causes managers at the top be disinhibited in their pursuit of self-interest and rewards to the detriment of those beneath them and society as a whole. Ultimately, we propose that power consolidation at the very top of organizations as a result of escalating income inequality in the United States leads top managers to feel more comfortable indulging in behaviors that exploit their employees.