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The Financialization of the Firm

Managerial and Social Implications Alexander Styhre, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The term ‘financialization’ denotes the general tendency in the advanced Western economies to allow a substantial proportion of taxable profits to accumulate in the finance industry. Alexander Styhre discusses the financialization of the firm in the period after 1980 and stresses how key managerial activities have been redefined on the basis of finance theory and free-market ideologies. This book critically examines the literature and the implications of financialization for organizations and the economy as a whole.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 78347 822 4
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  • Business and Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Organisation Studies
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory
The term ‘financialization’ denotes the general tendency in the advanced Western economies to allow a substantial proportion of taxable profits to accumulate in the finance industry. Alexander Styhre discusses the financialization of the firm in the period after 1980 and stresses how key managerial activities have been redefined on the basis of finance theory and free-market ideologies. This book critically examines the literature and the implications of financialization for organizations and the economy as a whole.

In seven chapters, Styhre covers topics such as the causes and consequences of financialization, corporate governance and financialization, managerial control, auditing, and accountability. He aims to broaden our concept of financialization to encapsulate socio economic and cultural changes since the early 1980s and, in doing so, expand its meaning to encompass more than a technical shift in policy.

Academic researchers, graduate students in management programs and organization theory courses, practicing managers and management consultants will find this to be an engaging read.
‘Any reader looking for a short, yet broad, introduction to the critical discourse on contemporary capitalism with a focus on the management of economic organizations is well served by The Financialization of the Firm. The book brings up many hotly debated economic, social, political, scientific, and moral questions concerning the role of the finance market particularly in the economic systems of the US and Great Britain: Is economic inequality on the rise and what is its impact on the legitimacy of democratic regimes? What were been the most important causes of the Great Recession? Is shareholder value maximization leading directly to short-termism and how detrimental could this be in the long term, for instance to R&D expenditure? How did neoclassical economists push the rise of the finance market?’
– Science & Public Policy

‘With usual intellectual wit and creativity, Alexander Styhre proposes a serious and detailed analysis of an important phenomenon in today’s business world and society: the financialization of the firm. He does so by drawing on a number of relevant ideas and concept central to social science, and discusses it in light of contemporary trends in management and social life at large. Not only is this a very timely and relevant book, it also help us better understand the conditions under which modern organizations operate.’
– Mikael Holmqvist, Stockholm University, Sweden
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction: From the Managerial Capitalism of the Society of Organizations to the Investor Capitalism of the Ownership Society PART I THE GREAT FINANCIALIZATION 2. What is Financialization? 3. Finance Industry Prominence: Causes and Consequences PART II ANALYZING THE MEDIATING DISCOURSES 4. Corporate Governance and Financialization 5. Managerial Control, Auditing, and Accountability 6. The Financialization of Working Life 7. Concluding Remarks: The Financialized Firm and its Implication Bibliography Index