What would it take for a broader, more competitive market for top-level managers to arise in which shareholders pay less than they now have to for top managerial talent? Here, the social egalitarianism and selective altruism frameworks point in different directions.
First, social egalitarianism: If one can persuade the shareholders that one is willing to work for less not because one is a worse manager but because one values a relative position perk--the giant corner office, ultra-attentive staff, etc.--that is cheaper from the shareholders' perspective than stock options and other monetary rewards, one is a good candidate to supplant a socially egalitarian top management that expects to get paid its market wage. The practical problem with this approach is considerable, though. The very concern for relative as opposed to absolute position that makes one credible in one's willingness to be paid less may very well be taken as a signal that one cares not about absolute return to shareholders but about some other metric, such as the relative size of one's firm, that is not the right one from the perspective of shareholders. You are credible as a manager who is willing to be paid less, but not as a manager who is equally committed to raising the value of the firm's shares.
Now, selective altruism: The counsel here is that outside firms or inside lower-level managers to be credible as replacements for the incumbents must have a very substantial degree of altruism toward the shareholders...[to be continued...reaching stop]