Employee share ownership (‘ESO’) schemes have recently been the subject of public policy interest in Australia. Employees owning shares in the company for which they work potentially has a number of ramifications, not least of which is the prospect that these schemes might circumvent the problematic of employees as ‘outsiders’ in corporate governance.
This paper surveys key issues and themes surrounding ESO schemes in Australia. It explores the varied policy rationales for these schemes, noting both broad bipartisan support and a generally limited conception of their fundamental purpose. The paper also outlines the current state of empirical research on their incidence and effects. It is suggested that available information on ESO schemes is patchy and there is no clear picture of Australian practices. In light of an overview of the present regulation of ESO schemes, the paper concludes by highlighting further research questions.Read Article