Sharing in the Company: Volume 17

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Determinants, Processes and Outcomes of Employee Participation


Table of contents

(8 chapters)

This chapter addresses employee ownership within a strategic human resource management (SHRM) framework that has gained increased attention. The study extends the configurational approach to SHRM and argues that the construct of the workforce philosophy is the primary factor that determines the coherence of HRM systems. In other words, the workforce philosophy propagates the idea that employees both deserve to be co-owners and must be taken seriously as such. In addition, the chapter argues that the HRM system should reflect this workforce philosophy: the HRM system should contain HRM practices that mirror the rights that comprise the very construct of “ownership.” We present the possible core HRM practices of the “ownership high-performance work system (O-HPWS),” which, similar to employee ownership, produces favorable outcomes. The chapter also addresses the important mediating role of employees’ perception and attributions related to employee share ownership in the relationship of the HRM system (with employee share ownership) to favorable outcomes.


This chapter analyzes the determinants of adoption of sharing arrangements by companies. Using propositions from agency and strategic human resource management frameworks predicting the adoption of sharing arrangements, we test the relationships with a large international dataset. The study finds that adoption of sharing arrangements is related to human capital investments, individual incentives, involvement practices, and human resource management practices and that adoption is affected by country differences.


This chapter investigates the differences in share-plan participation among various employee groups and why these differences exist. For strategic and tactical reasons, inequality may result from an employer’s choice to distinguish among groups when allocating or offering shares. Differences among groups are also based on employee preferences. In addition, differences may be caused by social stratification, which limits access to plans for certain groups. Using these three perspectives, this study found important demographic differences in participation and received benefits. The study revealed that employers tend to focus on high-level personnel. It also found that employees may differ in how knowledgeable they are regarding share plans and how they value the usefulness of participating in share schemes.


Taking an international comparative approach, this chapter investigates the variance in the adoption of employee share ownership and stock option arrangements across countries. In particular, we investigate the influence of multinational enterprises (MNEs), industrial relations factors, HRM strategies, and market economies on the adoption and spread of the arrangements across countries. We find that industrial relations factors do not explain the variance in adoption by companies in their respective countries. MNEs and HRM strategies are important drivers of adoption. Market economy does not moderate the influence of MNEs on adoption, suggesting that MNEs universally apply the arrangements across borders.


This chapter maps existing patterns of broad-based worker ownership and control in contemporary advanced capitalism and considers future possibilities for expanding democracy within firms. Section one discusses worker ownership and control arrangements in relation to different theories of the firm and shows how these arrangements map onto different national systems. Section two compares Germany, which is characterized by worker control without ownership, and the United States, which is marked by worker ownership without control. Section three explores three pathways through which broad-based worker ownership and control might be deepened and more strongly coupled in the future.

Cover of Sharing in the Company
Publication date
Book series
Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN