Empire Building

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DEFINITION of 'Empire Building'

The act of attempting to increase the size and scope of an individual or organization's power and influence. In the corporate world, this is seen when managers or executives are more concerned with expanding their business units, their staffing levels and the dollar value of assets under their control than they are with developing and implementing ways to benefit shareholders.

BREAKING DOWN 'Empire Building'

Empire building is typically seen as unhealthy for a corporation, as managers will often become more concerned with acquiring greater resource control than with optimally allocating resources. Corporate controls imposed by a company's board and upper-level management are supposed to prevent empire building within a corporation's ranks. The failure to screen out empire builders can lead to corporate actions that do not necessarily provide the best growth opportunities for a corporation and its shareholders, such as acquisitions made to boost the control of the company's executives.

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