CORPORATE DOWNSIZING

 

Sir, Alas, your cartoon on "downsizing backlash" (May 7th) is misleading. There is no new corporate paradigm in sight, not even the outline of one. There has been no money for that kind of intellectual effort. Corporate enterprise remains in thrall to the propositions that the consumer is king and cost minimisation is the guiding watchword.

The alternative propositions of the stakeholder systems as the ideal, and benefit maximisation as the goal, are kicked around but not rigorously explored on proper samples from important populations, like the Fortune 500. Such research takes serious money, there in the 1960s, when the prevailing paradigm was created, but not in the 1990s.

If society desires corporate security of employment, together with the increasing prosperity of global markets, and the end of corporate downsizing, then, indeed, a new corporate paradigm is needed. Securing this is a major and difficult undertaking, thought most certainly not an impossible one.

In the 1960s, intellectual undertakings of comparable magnitude were successfully attempted within university business school, which augurs well for the more socially affluent 1990s, provided, of course, that we regain the intellectual confidence and social vision of the 1960s and, yes, the "can do" attitude amongst business school researchers (which, as it happens, included me, then at the Harvard Business School). There is need for a new corporate paradigm in the first place, there is need for major research funding for the university schools of business. Corporate downsizing is a disgrace to a civilised society. Yours, etc., The Glebe, Glanworth, Co Cork.