by: Johnson, Jennifer
Source: The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education
One of the most significant changes to business in the twentieth century was the shift from more traditional manufacturing and basic industries to high technology and services. Many companies found themselves at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace, undercut by globalization and outsourcing, lacking in innovation, or polarized by labor-management conflict. Manufacturing companies have faced significant challenges in the US and elsewhere in the West, but so have companies in industries like newspapers and agriculture.
As the cases and other material in this Collection illustrate, a number of companies have been able to overcome these challenges not by removing more employees from the equation, as with outsourcing, but by instead integrating employees more closely into their organizational and governance structures. Some firms turned to employee ownership after coming on hard times, while others used it to weather the storm. Their methods include transparent management, increased autonomy, increased human capital development, and equity ownership. This is not to say that it has all been smooth sailing, but this Collection provides material for the constructive discussion of the benefits and challenges of employee ownership implementation.
Publication Date: 2010-10-20