Business and Society 57 (6):983-1009 (2018)

Abstract
Firms are central to wealth creation and distribution, but their role in economic inequality in a society remains poorly studied. In this essay, we define and distinguish value distribution from value creation and value appropriation. We identify four value distribution mechanisms that firms engage in and argue that shareholder wealth maximization approach skews the value distribution toward shareholders and top executives, which in turn contributes to rising economic inequalities around the world. We call on organizational scholars to study the value distribution role of firms and its consequences for society, and introduce the articles in this volume of the special issue on economic inequality, business, and society.
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DOI 10.1177/0007650318758390
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