Throwing the Red Flag: Challenging the NFL's Lessons for American Business
Heather M. Field
University of California Hastings College of the Law
September 20, 2012
38 Journal of Corporation Law, 2013 Forthcoming
In the wake of the financial crisis, policymakers, academics, and many others are trying to figure out how to reform business practices and grow the economy. In the book entitled, Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL (Harvard Business Review Press 2011), Dean Roger L. Martin provides a creative answer. He draws on an unlikely source — an analogy to the NFL — to advocate for changes that would shift the focus of American business away from the “expectations market” (i.e., in football, the betting world, and in business, the stock market where stock prices reflect investor expectations of future performance) and back to the “real market” (i.e., in football, the game on the field, and in business, the creation of products and services). Martin makes powerful arguments, but as with many analogies, the fit between the source (the NFL) and the target (American business) of the analogy is imperfect. And when deriving lessons through analogy, it is critical to appreciate the ways in which the analogy fails to work. Thus, this Article challenges three aspects of Martin’s analogy and explains how these challenges ought to alter Martin’s recommendations. Ultimately, by analyzing the limitations of the analogy between the NFL and American business, this Article seeks to further our ability to learn from the former to reform the latter.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: corporate governance, business, stock compensation, sports betting, gambling, NFL, football
JEL Classification: C70, G18, G30, G38, H32, K22, L20, L83, M10, M52
Date posted: September 22, 2012 ; Last revised: November 15, 2012
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