Jerry Davis, UM Ross

Taming corporate power in the 21st century
Jerry Davis


Fall 2022
Lecture Time: 
Friday, September 9, 2022 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 

R0240, Ross School of Business, Lower Level

Introduced By: 
Leo Fan


There is broad consensus in the US that monopolistic corporations have grown too powerful and that we need to revive antitrust to take on the “curse of bigness.” But information and communication technologies have fundamentally altered the operations of our economy in ways that undermine the basic categories we use to understand it. Nationality, industry, firm, size, employee, and other fundamental terms are increasingly perplexing. If we want to understand and tame the new sources of economic power, we need a new diagnosis and a new set of tools.

Recording & Additional Notes

Jerry Davis is the Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business and Professor of Sociology, The University of Michigan. Davis received his PhD from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. His books include Social Movements and Organization Theory (with Doug McAdam, W. Richard Scott, and Mayer N. Zald; Cambridge University Press, 2005), Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives (with W. Richard Scott; Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007), Managed By the Markets: How Finance Reshaped America (Oxford University Press, 2009), Changing your Company from the Inside Out: A Guide for Social Intrapreneurs (with Chris White, Harvard Business Review Press, 2015), and The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy (Berrett-Koehler, 2016). His latest book is Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century. Davis has published widely in management, sociology, and finance.

Davis’s research is broadly concerned with the corporation as a social and economic vehicle. Recent writings examine why corporations have so little insight into their global supply chains and the moral dilemmas this poses; why the social network of corporate elites has fallen apart; what organizational alternative exist to the shareholder-owned corporation; how national institutions shape corporate structures, and what this means for income inequality; how platform capitalism might be tamed to meet human needs other than profit; how management research might help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; how new technologies have enabled worker political activism within the corporation; how social scientists can inform public opinion; and how information and communication technologies have enabled entirely new designs for economic organization. His current book project examines corporate power in the 21st century, and how to tame it.