Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change
CEOs; Compensation; CEO to Worker Pay Ratio; “Above Average” Effect; Greed; Human Motivation; Social Contract;
The Cult of the CEO: The “Above Average” Effect
Authors: Kets de Vries Manfred F. R.
Many CEOs earn more in one workday than the average worker makes in an entire year. The question is whether these extremely high CEO compensation packages undervalue the contributions that other employees make to the success of the company. What will the effect of excessive CEO pay have on employee morale? It also raises the question why companies with high CEO: worker pay ratios often have lower shareholder returns than companies with lower ratios.This article explores the reasons why such pay discrepancies continue to exist. The pros and cons of these excessive compensation packages are discussed, including the “above average” effect—and how this “above average” effect can have such a dramatic, inflationary impact on compensation packages. As self-policing by the CEO community seems unlikely, a number of countervailing measures are suggested that could keep the compensation game within reasonable boundaries.