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Welcome to CLEO!

CLEO, the Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership, is the largest global online library on employee ownership resources. The database includes a variety of teaching materials – such as journal articles, syllabi and videos – that can assist both faculty and practitioners explain, demonstrate and share the core concepts of employee ownership to their stakeholders.


Through the collaboration of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), Aspen Institute, and Employee Ownership Foundation, the largest online Curriculum Library on Employee Ownership (CLEO) was launched in October of 2008. For eight years it resided at Aspen Institute’s CasePlace.org and grew to have more than 700 teaching materials, including videos, cases, syllabi, teaching modules, and reading collections, with thousands of downloads per year by researchers, teachers, and companies.

The Importance of Employee Ownership for Business

For many companies employee stock-ownership plans can be a viable and rewarding strategy for sharing equity and profits with employees. According to the 2006 General Social Survey, between one third and one half of all employees participate directly in company performance through various combinations of employee ownership, stock options, profit sharing and gainsharing. Among the hundreds of highly successful public companies with some form of employee ownership are Apple, Google, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and Starbucks. Employee-owned companies also feature prominently on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.

Employee ownership represents a powerful tool for managers to align company and employee incentives, improve company-wide performance, and show appreciation to employees.

Employee ownership first generated attention among business academics when the phenomenon came to prominence in the 1970s. Since then, many case studies and numerous research studies have demonstrated the conditions under which employee ownership can work more and less effectively. Employee ownership offers an interesting perspective into “the theory of the firm” and the ongoing debate over stakeholder and shareholder participation and responsibility.

Employee Ownership in Business Education

Historically, employee ownership has been explored most extensively in accounting and entrepreneurship courses. However, the positive outcomes generated by the creation of “ownership cultures” at many companies offer lessons for other disciplines as well.