Management Featherbeds Revisited

by Arthur Svenson



In summer 1963 issue the journal, California Management Review served as a forum for the author's discussion of management featherbedding. In the article, the author noted that the condition presented a managerial problem of herculean proportions and that it was a practice knowingly assumed. The article was certainly not a tour de force in sensational journalism, nor was it prompted by a get-even intent. So far as this author is concerned, revenge is not a human occupation. This article represents a summary of these comments. Two groupings deserve further discussion, these are, the nature and use of power under conditions of management featherbedding, and the problem of what to do with the feather-bedded fellow. Of these two categories, the one concerning the nature and use of power in featherbedding practice seems to be the more important. For here the pervasive characteristic of the practice has impact down into the last segment of management organization. And if the element of power were not involved, the question of what to do with the featherbedder would be of minimal importance. This means that some agency in the company, the Board or the office of the chief executive, has to rout out featherbedding within management's own ranks.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

Learn more
Follow Us