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商业 - 科技

惠普拆分的利弊与潜在风险

Eleanor Bloxham 2014年10月11日

惠普拆分是朝着正确的方向前进,但两家新公司可能不会具备现任CEO梅格•惠特曼所希望的灵活性。并且,从治理结构上来说,两家新公司的方案非常荒谬。

    周一,惠普(Hewlett-Packard)宣布将拆分成两家上市公司:惠普企业公司(Hewlett-Packard Enterprise)与惠普公司(HP Inc)。此举有潜在的好处,但也会带来许多问题。

    公司规模过于庞大,会造成管理困难,这将对社会造成不利影响。今年早些时候,美国联邦存款保险公司(FDIC)副董事长汤姆•霍尼格告诉我,他依然担心美国最大的银行仍过于庞大,危机重重。但太大的公司对社会造成的伤害,并不限于金融服务性公司,也不只是正常的反垄断定价方面的问题。

    如果大公司利用其集中的权力在政治领域支配民众,或恣意控制个人数据与隐私,这样的公司对于社会是危险的。此外,大公司也会造成其他危害,因为他们的董事会与高层的生活圈子与员工截然不同,因此,对于普通员工每天的努力,他们缺少同理心,而这会成为一种令人遗憾的趋势。董事会开始认为员工只是可供他们“开采”的资源,而不是与他们一样的人,结果整个社会因此受到损害。

    在彭博社(Bloomberg)近期的一系列报道中,梅根•麦克阿德声称,提高员工薪酬的好处并没有想象的那么多。令人震惊的是,麦克阿德竟然忘记了,食不果腹和居无定所带来的压力会降低员工的积极性和工作效率,并且会造成更高的员工流失率。她也没有考虑提高最低收入员工的工资,所带来的更广泛的经济倍增效果。此外,麦克阿德提出了一条有趣的论据,她认为In-N-Out汉堡(In-N-Out Burger)的员工得到的待遇优于麦当劳(McDonald’s),与公司的规模有很大关系。我不确定她的说法是否正确,但可以确定的一点是,更小的公司能够给高层管理者提供了解员工日常生活的机会;上下级之间的亲近关系,使得公司更难不近人情地对待员工,虽然这样的情况不可能完全消除。

    On Monday, Hewlett-Packard announced that it plans to split itself into two public companies: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. The move has potential benefits and problems.

    Companies that are too big to manage are detrimental to society. Earlier this year, FDIC Vice-Chair Tom Hoenig told me that he continues to be concerned that the largest banks in the U.S. remain too large and risky. But the harm to society from companies that are too big goes far beyond financial services firms or even normal anti-trust pricing concerns.

    Large companies can be dangerous when they use concentrated power to overrule citizens in the political arena and when they exercise unbridled control over individuals’ data and privacy. Massive companies can also create other hazards because their boards and top managers live in spheres so different from their workers that the absence of empathy for the normal daily struggles can become an unfortunate epidemic. Boards begin to think about employees as resources to exploit rather than human beings like themselves, and society suffers because of that.

    In a recent series for Bloomberg, Megan McArdle argued that the benefits of paying workers more are less than you may think. Astonishingly, McArdle forgets that the stress of empty stomachs and homelessness can render employees vulnerable to lower engagement and productivity and higher turnover. She also failed to consider the broader economic multiplier benefits of higher wages for the lowest paid workers. That aside, McArdle makes an interesting argument that part of the reason employees are treated better at In-N-Out Burger versus McDonald’s has to do with companies’ size. I’m not sure she’s completely right about that, but certainly smaller firms offer more opportunity for top managers to understand the daily lives of their staff; proximity makes it more difficult, although not impossible, to treat employees inhumanely.

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