A Positive Movement Forward: Carris Companies Employee-Governance  - CLEO Skip to main content


This chapter presents William (Bill) H. Carris’s distinctive organizational design for a positive and practical model of 100% employee-governance in the movement toward 100% employee-ownership of the Carris Companies, a manufacturer of wood, plastic, and metal reels in six United States locations and one in Mexico. The positive approach in the redesigning of the Carris Companies’ corporate governance was distinguished by the commitment to teach employees the business, the one-person, one-vote provision, the discounted sale price, and a transparent accountable model for decision-making. Multiple theories of corporate governance and organizational design are applied within this case. The analysis suggests that the Carris Companies’ commitment to its positive design facilitated its adherence to its long-term vision of shared ownership and governance, independent of upturns or downturns in the industry and economy. Further, not only were these fundamental to organizational success, the efforts by the Carris Companies contribute to the growing fields of positive design and positive organizational scholarship.