Workers as Owners: An Empirical Comparison of Intra-firm Inequalities at Employee-owned and Conventional Companies  - CLEO Skip to main content


Based on a sample of three employee-owned and seven conventional companies, this study empirically tests the theoretical claim that employee ownership and management reduces inequality at the firm level. Inequality is broadly defined as the unequal distribution of income, wealth, power, prestige, and privileges, as well as the existence of social boundaries between classes. Results, based on questionnaires, interviews, and study of workers’ wages, reveal a more equal distribution of all of the above rewards among the worker-owners of the three employee-owned and managed companies in contrast to the distribution of those among employees of the conventional firms. Implications of results are discussed and further research suggestions are presented.

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