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The Company Men

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The Company Men


The Company Men" follows the stories of characters who have oriented their lives around a corporation once named General Transportation Systems or GTX. Years ago, this company involved two men who began building ships; small ones at first, and then big ones. Caught in the economic downturn, GTX is downsizing. Many employees are fired, including Bobby Walker. Walker is a white-collar, corporate ladder-climbing employee with a six-figure salary. He gradually loses luxuries such as his country club membership and his Porsche. He finally resorts to selling his expensive house (with a large mortgage) and moves his family in with his parents. Ultimately, Walker is forced to take a manual labour job working for his blue-collar brother-in-law, Jack Dolan, installing drywall. Meanwhile, by downsizing labour, GTX CEO James Salinger suffers no misfortune during the crisis. His long-time friend, college roommate, and first employee, Gene McClary, challenges his strategy of employee cutbacks and questions the ethics of spending money to build new corporate headquarters while laying off employees. Angry with McClary's questioning, Salinger asserts that the deep cuts are necessary to increase profits, to keep the company in business, and to satisfy stockholders. Later, it is determined that an additional round of lay-offs is necessary. Senior manager Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper), who, over the course of 30 years, had risen from the factory floor to the corporate offices (a decidedly rare accomplishment), is also fired. Frustrated and depressed, he commits suicide. Despite McClary's anger, he has become even wealthier as a shareholder of the firm, but he feels guilty about his company ruining so many lives and, instead, would rather put people to work. Feeling the need for a change, he leaves his wife and starts his own business where he hires the people fired from GTX during downsizing, including Walker.

Aim of the Presentation

In the recent times, we have seen that downsizing in the name of cost-cutting has become a key trend in the industry. The corporates are blinded by their greed for wealth and forget the key contributors, i.e., the employees, in their success. On the other hand, the top executives still enjoy variety of benefits and hefty packages. We have tried to identify, through this presentation, various ethical issues pertinent to this topic, similar incidents which have happened in this past and how well or how badly have those been handled. Also, we discuss the effect of such measures on the community as a whole and how the effect of these can be mitigated.



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