This paper, presented at the Rutgers-Oxford Employee Ownership Research Symposium in 2023 held at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, discusses the current state of employee ownership research and where it needs to go. The paper is written in an informal manner where the authors write in the first person.
An urgent and deeply resonant case for the power of workplace democracy to restore balance between economy and society. What happens to a society—and a planet—when capitalism outgrows democracy? The tensions between democracy and capitalism are longstanding, and they have been laid bare by the social effects of COVID-19. The narrative of “essential workers” has … Read More
There has been a great variety of employee ownership models in Europe. Some of the best examples are Marcora in Italy, Sociadades Laborales in Spain, Le FCPE de Reprise in France, and many unregulated ad hoc models set up by individual owners without any institutional support. None of those models, however, offers an effective and … Read More
This article evaluates worker-owned and unionized worker-owned cooperatives as alternatives to the conventional corporate structures for businesses in the United States. With their focus on democratic governance and shared ownership, worker-owned cooperatives offer an antidote to the extreme inequality of income and deterioration of working conditions that workers are experiencing. These are inequities for which … Read More
Wages don’t cover the bills. Wealth inequality is growing. Social trust is eroding. There are endless debates about what to do, but one key factor is inexplicably left out: who owns the companies that drive the economy? Ownership matters. Ownership by a few means benefits for a few. But if you spread ownership around, you … Read More
Under what conditions do cooperatively owned enterprises scale to stand alongside investor-owned firms? This article measures and attempts to explain large cooperatives’ variable prevalence across high-income capitalist democracies. Controlling for other known social, economic and geographic factors, statistical models confirm that state-mediated institutional arrangements, as operationalized through two comparative capitalism frameworks (Varieties of Capitalism and … Read More
These resource slides are designed for teaching faculty who teach about organizational “alternatives” to dominant corporate and bureaucratic forms of organization. The slides include links to recommended books, films, organizational case studies, sample syllabi and other resources appropriate for a wide variety of college-level classes. Individual slides are tailored to specific classes, including Methods, Theory, … Read More
This volume explores an expansive array of organizational imaginaries, or conceptions of organizational possibilities, with a focus on collectivist-democratic organizations that operate in capitalist markets but place more authority and ownership in the hands of stakeholders other than shareholders. These include worker and consumer cooperatives and other enterprises that, to varying degrees: Emphasize social values … Read More
Job quality has received increased attention from academics and policy makers across industrialized countries. Yet, there has been limited assessment of how job quality is impacted by different organizational forms, including cooperatives and employee-owned businesses (EOBs). Although there has been growing interest in how cooperatives/EOBs impact on employee outcomes, comprehensive assessments of the range and … Read More
Employee ownership has attracted growing attention for its potential to improve economic outcomes for companies, workers, and the economy in general, and help reduce inequality. Over 100 studies across many countries indicate that employee ownership is generally linked to better productivity, pay, job stability, and firm survival—though the effects are dispersed and causation is difficult … Read More
This short book presents reflections from Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, the founder of the Mondragon worker-cooperative conglomerate in the Basque country of Spain. His reflections contain economic insights. But these aphorisms and fragments reveal that his central motivation was spiritual—not to the exclusion of the practical, but with the recognition that plutocratic capitalism, also, is … Read More
In Croatia in 2005, a machine tools factory was occupied by its workers. Since then, they have operated collectively, becoming the only successful example of a worker occupation in post-socialist Europe. Today, as they seek a new model of collective ownership, the world of the factory clashes with the forces of the globalized market economy, … Read More
Pallak Seth, Group CEO of PDS Multinational Fashions, is contemplating options to bring better collaboration across his global apparel supply chain platform. PDS, a group of 50-plus subsidiary companies, each led by its own CEO and with different apparel industry specialties, has grown rapidly over the past decade, yet the industry is increasingly competitive and … Read More
As KKR, a private equity firm, prepared to take Gardner-Denver, one of its portfolio companies, public in mid-2017, a discussion arose on the Gardner-Denver board about the implications of granting approximately $110 million in equity to its global employee base as part of its innovative “broad-based employee ownership program.” KKR (formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis … Read More
Platform cooperatives make possible a more democratic digital economy. They offer an alternative to extractive “platform capitalism,” one based on cooperative principles such as democratic ownership and governance.
This French language doctoral thesis examines the role of employee shareholders in corporate governance, drawing on original interview research.
This case study describes John Lewis Partnership. John Lewis Company has been in business since 1864. In 1929, it became the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) when the son of the founder sold a portion of the firm to the employees. In 1955, he sold his remaining interest to the employee/partners. JLP has a constitution and … Read More
The Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy has one of the highest concentrations of cooperative businesses in the developed world. The capital, Bologna is an industrial powerhouse, where prosperity is widely shared, and cooperatives of teachers and social workers play a key role in the provision of government services.
This study investigates how the effect of employee stock ownership on financial performance may hinge on the diverse cultural and societal contexts of European countries. Based on agency and national culture theories, we hypothesize that the positive relationship between employee stock ownership and return on assets (ROA) is stronger in those nations with lower uncertainty … Read More
Employee stock ownership gives employees a voice and therefore may have a major impact on corporate governance. Thus, employee stock ownership may be a powerful mean to protect CEOs from both market for corporate control and dismissal threat. In this paper, we examine the relationship between employee stock ownership and CEO entrenchment. Following the recent … Read More
This article focuses on the unique organizational structure, ownership model, and decision-making process at Mondragon Corporation, the world’s largest consortium of worker-owned cooperatives.
Purpose A growing number of econometric examinations show that works councils substantially shape the personnel policy of firms in Germany. Firms with works councils make greater use of various human resource management (HRM) practices. This gives rise to the question of whether employers view the shaping of personnel policy positively or negatively. Against this background, … Read More
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to look at the effect of profit sharing (PS) on the ability of the firm to take care of the environment. Design/methodology/approach In a large cross-section of French firms, the authors find strong associations between PS and various innovations with environmental benefits. With cross-sectional data from the Community … Read More
The chapter reinforces the fundamental roles of information-sharing and participation in enterprises with shared ownership, while making key distinctions between shopfloor and office workers experiences and perceptions.
With a growing prominence of sophisticated econometric research in a much-expanded field of New Economics of Participation (NEP), it is of particular value to learn about real-world examples of participatory and labor-managed firms in the advanced market economies through extensive case studies. In this volume of Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms, … Read More