Lean and Mean: Why Large Corporations Will Continue to Dominate the Global Economy

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Is big business on the way out? Are small firms better at generating new jobs and spurring technological innovation? This myth-shattering book contends that long-term economic growth and technological innovation lie ultimately where they always have: with the largest, most resourceful global companies. But while the biggest businesses still create the lion's share of jobs, these jobs are changing. A rise in part-time and temporary jobs is making the "permanent" workforce an endangered species. Instead of ...
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Overview

Is big business on the way out? Are small firms better at generating new jobs and spurring technological innovation? This myth-shattering book contends that long-term economic growth and technological innovation lie ultimately where they always have: with the largest, most resourceful global companies. But while the biggest businesses still create the lion's share of jobs, these jobs are changing. A rise in part-time and temporary jobs is making the "permanent" workforce an endangered species. Instead of romanticizing the small firm, Harrison argues, government, business, and labor policymakers must confront more significant issues, such as encouraging innovative management behavior--without adding to underemployment and working poverty--and regulating businesses whose organizational boundaries are increasingly fuzzy.

This edition features a new foreword by Robert Kuttner and a new chapter that incorporates current research and addresses critical policy questions.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A powerful, provocative worldview--with important implications for almost everyone, certainly for business managers, government officials, and scholars of many stripes." --Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration

"Lean and Mean is the book of the year on the transformation of the corporation....A dazzling piece of work that belongs on the shelf with Chandler, Druckers, Peters, Barnet--and a good corrective to Gilder. Beautifully written, too." --Robert Kuttner, editor, The American Prospect; columnist, Business Week

"Bennett Harrison, with his usual flair, plunges into the thick of some very fraught and complicated arguments about economic and social change. The book is concisely written, yet full of energy and enthusiasm. The message it contains is extremely important." --Erica Schoenberger, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

"Lean and Mean gives us the new world economy as it really is--an economy that is still dominated by big business, in which the life of the small remains nasty, brutish, and short....This is a serious book." --James K. Galbraith in The New York Times Book Review

"May be the most important business book of the 1990s." --Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., President, Economic Strategy Institute

"A provocative and powerful argument for a new industrial reality with the potential to reshape economic policy, business strategy, workplaces, job prospects--and the lives of millions of American workers. Harrison offers a compelling and fresh perspective on the new role of large companies as the linchpin of global supply networks." --Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, author of When the Giants Learn to Dance

New York Times Book Review

"Lean and Mean gives us the new world economy as it really is an economy that is still dominated by big business, in which the life of the small remains nasty, brutish, and short....This is a serious book."--New York Times Book Review
Contemporary Sociology

"Challenges so many old and new orthodoxies that sometimes the reader is left breathless....Lean and Mean is a terrific book, and we need to absorb its insights and build on them."--Contemporary Sociology
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572302525
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Series: Perspectives On Economic Change Series
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 363
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author


Bennett Harrison is Professor of Urban Political Economy in the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy of the New School for Social Research in New York, and an affiliated member of the New School Department of Economics. He is also a regular columnist for Technology Review Magazine, and author of eleven books and more than one hundred technical papers published in academic journals. Harrison writes for many newspapers and popular magazines, and has appeared often on such television programs as the Lehrer News Hour on PBS.
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Table of Contents


Foreword, Kuttner
I. Overview
1. Big Firms, Small Firms, Network Firms
II. Reassessing the Idea that Small Firms Are the Economic Development Drivers
2. The Myth of Small Firms as Job Generators
3. Are Small Firms the Technology Leaders?
4. The Evolution (and Devolution?) of the Italian Industrial Districts
5. Is Silicon Valley an Industrial District?
III. The Emerging System of Globally Networked Production
6. "Flexibility" and the Emergence of Large Firm-Led Production Networks
7. Large Firm-Centered Networked Production Systems in Japan and Europe
8. Interfirm Production Networks in the United States
9. The Dark Side of Flexible Production
IV. Rethinking Economic Development Policy
10. Economic Development Policy in a World of Lean and Mean Production
11. Postscript: Reassessing Lean and Mean on the Eve of the New Millennium
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