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Employee participation, job quality, and inequality

Felix R. FitzRoy (Economics, University of Saint Andrews, Saint Andrews, UK)
Michael A. Nolan (University of Hull, Hull, UK)

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership

ISSN: 2514-7641

Article publication date: 21 September 2021

Issue publication date: 31 May 2022




The purpose is to review the effects of employee participation (EP) in decision-making, ownership and profit on job quality, worker well-being and productivity, and derive policy recommendations from the findings.


The authors summarise results of “declining labour power”, plus theoretical arguments and empirical evidence for the benefits of EP for job quality, satisfaction and productivity.


Worker well-being and job satisfaction are ignored unless they contribute directly to profitability. EP is needed to remedy this situation when employers have market power and unions are weak. The result can be a rise in both productivity and well-being.

Research limitations/implications

The chief issue here is that there are data limitations, particularly on the well-being effects of participation.

Practical implications

Lots of encouraging examples in many countries need legislative help to multiply.

Social implications

It is quite possible that there could be major implications for welfare and employment.


The authors make the case for public sector subsidies for employee buyouts and new cooperative start-ups, as well as legislation for works councils and profit sharing.



The authors would like to thank the editor, Takao Kato, for very helpful discussion and really useful comments and suggestions that enabled the paper to be improved. The usual disclaimer applies.


FitzRoy, F.R. and Nolan, M.A. (2022), "Employee participation, job quality, and inequality", Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 1-13.



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