Management and Income Inequality: A Review and Conceptual Framework
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- Beal, B.D. & Astakhova, M. J Bus Ethics (2017) 142: 1. doi:10.1007/s10551-015-2762-6
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Income inequality in the US has now reached levels not seen since the 1920s. Management, as a field of scholarly inquiry, has the potential to contribute in significant ways to our understanding of recent inequality trends. We review and assess recent research, both in the management literature and in other fields. We then delineate a conceptual framework that highlights the mechanisms through which business practice (and, indirectly, business pedagogy and scholarship) may be linked to income inequality. We then outline four general areas in which management scholars are uniquely positioned to contribute to ongoing research: (1) data and description, (2) organizational dynamics, (3) collective action, and (4) value flows and tradeoffs. To stimulate future research, we highlight a number of relevant research questions and link these questions to existing management research streams that could be leveraged to address them.