Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 142, Issue 1, pp 1–23 | Cite as

Management and Income Inequality: A Review and Conceptual Framework

  • Brent D. Beal
  • Marina Astakhova


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.


Income inequality Wage inequality Economic value creation Value flow analysis 



We thank Dr. Roger Conaway, School of Business, Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM), San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Oliver Laasch, Marie Curie Research Fellow, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR), and Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester, and colleagues at The University of Texas at Tyler for contributions to the concepts and ideas in this manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Business and TechnologyThe University of Texas at TylerTylerUSA

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