Agency Costs of Overvalued Equity
Author(s)Jensen, Michael C.
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In the past few years, we have seen many fine companies end up in ruins and watched record numbers of senior executives go to jail. And we will surely hear of more investigations, more prison terms, and more damaged reputations. Shareholders and society have borne value destruction in the hundreds of billions of dollars. What went wrong? Were managers overtaken by a fit of greed? Did they wake up one morning and decide to be crooks? No. Although there were some crooks in the system, the root cause of the problem was not the people but the system in which they were operating—a system in which equity became so dangerously overvalued that many CEOs and CFOs found themselves caught in a vicious bind where excessively high stock valuations released a set of damaging organizational forces that led to massive destruction of corporate and social value. The problem was made far worse than it had to be because few managers or boards had any idea of the destructive forces involved.
Center for Public Leadership
Center for Public Leadership Working Paper Series;05-09
hks, leadership, cpl, kennedy school, equity, overvalue
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