Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Director motivation

A quick snippet from R.A. Gordon's Business Leadership in the Large Corporation (1945!) as quoted in The Economic Theory of Managerial Capitalism by Robin Marris.
The most important spurs to action by the businessman, other than the desire for goods for direct want-satisfaction, are probably the following: the urge for power, the desire for prestige and the related impulse of emulation, the creative urge, the propensity to identify oneself with a group and the related feeling of group loyalty, the desire for security, the urge for adventure and for "playing the game" for its own sake, and the desire to serve others... These motives can satisfied more or less through monetary rewards. They can also be satisfied in good part by other attractions which the large corporation offers its business leaders. 
Interesting that back then it was taken for granted that businessmen had a range of motivations (doesn't make them good, obviously) and that money was only a proxy for many of them. Now corporate governance has an excessive emphasis on the structure of pay, built on the assumption this is what directors really want. to the exclusion of other forms of motivation. Have we lost something?

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