General Motors, General Electric, Kodak, Coca-Cola. Once, big companies like these took responsibility for providing their workers and retirees with an array of social benefits. They believed that pay needed to be kept high in order to preserve morale and keep the economy humming. Productivity boomed.
But today, as precarious work expands and pensions dwindle, many workers no longer feel that their employers are looking out for them. Rick Wartzman’s book The End of Loyalty charts the paths of four large companies through the post-World War II boom years, the turbulence of the seventies and eighties, and the advent of downsizing and outsourcing, and examines the changing relationships between employers and employees.
Discussants: James Lincoln, Haas School of Business, and David Levine, Haas School of Business
Rick Wartzman directs the KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society at the Drucker Institute, where he works to make institutions more effective at helping people thrive. He spent two decades working as a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. His other writings explore California history and the world of work, and he is a regular contributor at Fortune online.
James Lincoln is the Mitsubishi Chair in International Business and Finance, emeritus, at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He served as director of the IRLE from 1997 to 2002. His research and writings have focused on Japanese management, organizational design, organizational theory, and industrial relations.
David Levine is professor of business administration at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Before coming to Haas, he was a senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers and a senior research economist at the US Department of Labor. His research interests include the causes and effects of high wages and workplace diversity, and the causes and effects of investments in health and education.