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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2021

Jenny Weissbourd, Maureen Conway, Joyce Klein, Yoorie Chang, Douglas Kruse, Melissa Hoover, Todd Leverette, Julian McKinley and Zen Trenholm

The paper discusses the relationship between systemic inequity and wealth disparity and advocates for expanding employee share ownership as a strategy to address divides…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper discusses the relationship between systemic inequity and wealth disparity and advocates for expanding employee share ownership as a strategy to address divides in income and wealth by race and gender. It targets diverse actors including policymakers, philanthropic leaders and social investors and presents a set of policy proposals and practice ideas that seek to advance a broader understanding of employee share ownership and build the capacity of key organizations to support employee-owned businesses.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on data indicating positive outcomes from employee share ownership programs (ESOPs) related to job quality, economic stability and wealth-building, as well as widespread political support for ESOPs.

Findings

This paper suggests that employee share ownership can help to strengthen job quality and address race and gender income and wealth gaps. It argues that there is both public support and a range of different strategies actors can implement to expand awareness and access to different forms of employee share ownership.

Research limitations/implications

Additional research focused on other forms of employee share ownership (beyond ESOPs) is needed to deepen understanding of how each form can play a role in addressing racial and gender wealth inequities. The paper acknowledges that despite the potential of employee share ownership to mitigate racial and gender wealth gaps, additional simultaneous strategies are required to address the range of systemic barriers that have disproportionately limited women and people of color's participation in ESOPs.

Practical implications

Policymakers are actively seeking new proposals, while philanthropic leaders, social investors and others are also eager to build awareness and understanding of employee ownership models and develop the institutional capacity necessary to support strong employee-owned businesses. This paper directly responds to these needs and contributes to a broader collaborative effort to spread employee share ownership policies and practices that support economic recovery and lay the foundation for a more equitable and resilient economy.

Social implications

Employee share ownership is not yet a strategy that is well understood among policymakers and the public, but it connects to and supports outcomes that are top of mind for many, including increasing local ownership and bolstering local economies, helping small business owners retire in ways that preserve local jobs and businesses, strengthening job quality and workforce development, addressing racial inequity and economic inequality and providing workers greater voice and agency. This paper seeks to connect employee ownership to these high-priority issues and support efforts by a range of organizations to implement policy and practice solutions.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills an identified need to aggregate recent research on the relationship between employee share ownership and wealth inequities on the basis of race and gender. It also offers a timely argument that employee ownership strategies can play an important role in responding to the challenges facing communities and workers – particularly women workers and workers of color – as we rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

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Abstract

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2018

Joseph Blasi, Douglas Kruse and Richard B. Freeman

The purpose of this paper is to review the historical background for broad-based ownership in the USA, the development of forms of employee ownership and profit sharing in…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the historical background for broad-based ownership in the USA, the development of forms of employee ownership and profit sharing in the USA, the research literature on employee ownership and profit sharing and related employee participation, the development of policy and options for new policies.

Design/methodology/approach

It is a literature review.

Findings

There are four reasons to be interested in employee stock ownership and profit sharing today: first, employee share ownership and profit sharing can increase worker pay and wealth and broaden the overall distribution of income and wealth, a key ingredient for a successful democracy. To be a tool for reducing inequality, employee stock ownership and profit sharing must be spread more widely and meaningfully than it is today. Second, employee share ownership and profit sharing provide incentives for more effort, cooperation, information sharing and innovation that can improve workplace performance and company productivity. Third, employee share ownership and profit sharing can save jobs by enhancing firm survival and employment stability, with wider economic benefits that come from decreasing unemployment. Fourth, employee share ownership and profit sharing can create more harmonious workplaces with greater corporate transparency and increased worker involvement in their work lives through access to information and participation in workplace decisions.

Research limitations/implications

Growth has been extraordinarily sluggish in the recovery from the Great Recession and has weakened in advanced countries over a longer period, leading some analysts to believe that the authors have entered a new economic era of small to modest growth. This may turn out to be true, which will increase the importance of growth-enhancing policies. The evidence that firms with employee stock ownership and/or profit-sharing perform better than others suggests that policies that extend ownership would boost the country’s lagging growth rate. The evidence that employee share ownership firms preserve jobs and survive recessions better than others suggests that policies that extend ownership could help stabilize the economy when the next recession comes down the pike.

Practical implications

Because there may be informational or institutional barriers about the benefits of ownership and sharing and the ways firms can introduce such programs that government can help overcome. Government has often played a role in promoting performance-enhancing work practices to enhance overall economy-wide outcomes from higher productivity and innovation, such as the long history of agricultural extension services (since 1887) to spread information on best practices in farming, and employer education on safety practices conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Social implications

Because of the “externalities” – effects that extend beyond the firm and its members – that greater ownership/profit sharing can bring us. If employee ownership and profit sharing lead to fewer layoffs and firm closures, this can reduce recession-created drops in consumer purchasing power and aggregate demand; government expenditures on unemployment compensation and other forms of support; decreased tax base for supporting schools and infrastructure; and potentially harmful social and personal effects, such as marital breakups and alcohol abuse. Apart from unemployment, more broadly shared prosperity and lower inequality may also have wider benefits for macroeconomic growth, stability and societal outcomes, as described by a number of social scientists. To the extent the ownership and profit sharing is a public good, a nudge in policy to consider the idea makes sense.

Originality/value

Because it is hard to find policy options that are as bipartisan as the shares policy. In The Citizens’ Share, and in other articles and venues, the authors lay out the areas in which there is evidence or logic for in-depth development of, and experimentation with, several broad policy directions, with the details to be worked out by members of Congress based on their deliberations.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

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Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 December 2019

Joseph Blasi, Dan Weltmann and Douglas Kruse

Abstract

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2020

Mason Ameri, Terri Kurtzberg, Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse

This purpose of this paper is to explore to efficacy of influence tactics at the outset of a job interview. Across three empirical studies, five influence tactics were…

Abstract

Purpose

This purpose of this paper is to explore to efficacy of influence tactics at the outset of a job interview. Across three empirical studies, five influence tactics were manipulated during a simulated job interview to explore first impressions for candidates with or without a visible disability.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants viewed videos of candidates (either in a wheelchair or not) responding to the opening question in a job interview by using one of five influence tactics (i.e. revealing a strong alternative, setting a numerical anchor, demonstrating approachability through imperfections, presenting hard skills that described job-related competencies or presenting soft skills including connecting well with and leading others). Perceptions of trustworthiness, fit for the current job and perceived appropriate salary amount were rated.

Findings

Results show that, in general, tactics that might have beneficial effects when used at later moments, including the use of a strong alternate, anchor or imperfection display, may instead harm first impressions of anyone. When discussing specific skills, hard skills helped in both cases. However, the presentation of soft skills helped only the non-disabled job candidate. Trustworthiness acted as a mediator for most of these relationships in both populations.

Originality/value

Results provide insight into how the use of these tactics very early in an interaction unfolds. Further, parsing the use of influence tactics into their effects on specific populations (such as people with disabilities) allows us to better understand the conditions under which they may help or hurt perceptions of employability.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2021

Joseph Blasi, Douglas Kruse and Dan Weltmann

The purpose of this study is to understand how majority employee-owned firms responded to the pandemic compared to firms that were not majority employee-owned. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand how majority employee-owned firms responded to the pandemic compared to firms that were not majority employee-owned. The Employee Ownership Foundation partnered with Rutgers University and the SSRS survey firm to survey ESOP and non-ESOP firms about their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. A key purpose of the survey was to estimate firm-level changes in employment from mid-January to August (current employment figures were adjusted to August 5 using BLS industry employment trends). The survey also looked at other forms of adjustment and responses to the pandemic as reviewed below. The focus in this study is on the differences between firms that are majority owned by ESOPs and those that are not.

Design/methodology/approach

The survey included 247 executives from ESOP Association member companies and 500 executives from an SSRS business panel constructed to be representative of US companies with 50 or more employees. The survey started on August 5 and ended on September 23, 2020.

Findings

(1) Majority ESOP firms had employment declines from January to August that were on average only one-fourth as large as for other firms. The difference is maintained when controlling for industry membership. (2) Majority ESOP firms were more likely to be declared “essential,” but the lower employment cutbacks among majority ESOP firms remain among essential and non-essential businesses. As essential businesses, majority ESOP firms were more likely receive Paycheck Protection Program or other government pandemic assistance, but both assistance recipients and non-recipients had lower employment cutbacks among majority ESOP firms. (3) The extent of employment cutbacks was higher for non-managers than for managers, but the manager/non-manager gap was higher among other firms than among majority ESOP firms.

Research limitations/implications

This study supports empirical findings done previously.

Practical implications

This study suggests to non-EO firms what they can do.

Social implications

This study suggests strengths of EO firms.

Originality/value

A very original and one-of-a-kind dataset.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 9 December 2013

Joseph Blasi, Douglas Kruse and Dan Weltmann

Using a population study, we provide evidence on the important but understudied issue of company survival under employee ownership, as well as on the performance effects…

Abstract

Purpose

Using a population study, we provide evidence on the important but understudied issue of company survival under employee ownership, as well as on the performance effects of employee ownership and the issue of whether employee ownership substitutes for other pension benefits.

Design/methodology/approach

Company survival and pension benefits are assessed using a unique dataset from Dun & Bradstreet of privately held Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) companies over the 1988–1999 period, matched to non-ESOP companies in the same industry. Performance is assessed using pre/post-comparisons of ESOP adopters in the 1988–1994 period.

Findings

Privately held ESOP companies in 1988 were only half as likely as non-ESOP firms to go bankrupt or close over the 1988–1999 period, and only three-fifths as likely to disappear for any reason. The ESOP companies had significantly higher post-adoption annual employment and sales growth, along with higher sales per employee. ESOP companies are four times more likely than their non-ESOP pairs to have defined benefit pension plan and other forms of defined contribution plans.

Research implications

The greater survival was not explained by higher productivity, or by greater compensation flexibility. The higher survival may instead be tied to complementary policies adopted along with ESOPs to create a more committed and engaged workforce that contributes ideas to enhance survival and is more flexible when economic difficulties arise. The pension results are consistent with other studies on compensation under employee ownership, suggesting that employee ownership is generally used as a form of efficiency wage to provide above-market compensation.

Social implications

Higher survival among ESOP companies could result in lower job loss and unemployment, potentially providing a public policy rationale for support of employee ownership.

Originality/value

The chapter provides the first examination of company survival in privately held ESOP companies, and one of the few examinations of how ESOPs relate to other pension benefits.

Details

Sharing Ownership, Profits, and Decision-Making in the 21st Century
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-750-4

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Book part
Publication date: 6 July 2004

Rhokeun Park, Douglas Kruse and James Sesil

Research on employee ownership has focused on questions of productivity, profitability, and employee attitudes and behavior, while there has been little attention to the…

Abstract

Research on employee ownership has focused on questions of productivity, profitability, and employee attitudes and behavior, while there has been little attention to the most basic measure of performance: survival of the company. This study uses data on all U.S. public companies as of 1988, following them through 2001 to examine how employee ownership is related to survival. Estimation using Weibull survival models shows that companies with employee ownership stakes of 5% or more were only 76% as likely as firms without employee ownership to disappear in this period, compared both to all other public companies and to a closely matched sample without employee ownership. While employee ownership is associated with higher productivity, the greater survival rate of these companies is not explained by higher productivity, financial strength, or compensation flexibility. Rather, the higher survival is linked to their greater employment stability, suggesting that employee ownership companies may provide greater employment security as part of an effort to build a more cooperative culture, which can increase employee commitment, training, and willingness to make adjustments when economic difficulties occur. These results indicate that employee ownership may have an important role to play in increasing job and income security, and decreasing levels of unemployment. Given the fundamental importance of these issues for economic well being, further research on the role of employee ownership would be especially valuable.

Details

Employee Participation, Firm Performance and Survival
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-114-9

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Book part
Publication date: 15 December 2015

Andrea Kim, Kyongji Han, Joseph R. Blasi and Douglas L. Kruse

Building on economic and psychological ownership theories, this study investigates whether group incentives can reduce shirking because these practices enable employees to…

Abstract

Building on economic and psychological ownership theories, this study investigates whether group incentives can reduce shirking because these practices enable employees to feel psychological ownership that motivates them to prevent their own and coworkers shirking in a collective work setting. We analyzed a sample of 38,475 employees in eight companies that participated in the survey administered by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in 2005. Our findings reveal that (1) short-term-oriented group incentives (STOGIs) and long-term-oriented group incentives (LTOGIs) are positively related to self-shirking regulation and coworker-shirking intervention; (2) STOGIs have stronger relationships with these anti-shirking outcomes than LTOGIs; and (3) the interaction between LTOGIs and formal training is positively related to these anti-shirking outcomes. Although some scholars are concerned about the free rider problem in the collective working and rewarding structure, our work demonstrates how and why employee shirking may be mitigated in such settings.

Details

Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-379-2

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 15 December 2015

Dan Weltmann, Joseph R. Blasi and Douglas L. Kruse

Past research has found employee ownership to be linked to better attitudes and behaviors. We investigate three possible mechanisms: (a) a selection effect – employees who…

Abstract

Past research has found employee ownership to be linked to better attitudes and behaviors. We investigate three possible mechanisms: (a) a selection effect – employees who buy stock in their own company may have better attitudes to begin with; (b) a status effect – employees who have any amount of employee ownership may have better attitudes; and (c) a size of stake effect – employee attitudes and behaviors may be influenced by the size of their employee ownership stake. We used a rich database of over 40,000 employee surveys from one large multinational company and 13 other companies. We find some support for all three mechanisms. Selection effects are indicated by several positive relationships between attitudes and stock that is bought by the employees rather than being granted by the employer. Status and size of stake effects are indicated by several positive relationships between attitudes and stock that is granted by the employer, particularly when the employee ownership is accompanied by high-performance work policies. While dividing employee ownership into bought or granted stock sheds light on the selection issue, the data are cross-sectional so selection and causality cannot be firmly established. There is need for further research on selection versus causality in examining the effects of employee ownership. The results indicate that companies may improve employee attitudes and behaviors of people by granting them stock and by having opportunities for employees to purchase stock. Even the results pointing to selection effects, however, can be important for companies, since offering stock ownership opportunities to employees may be an effective way to identify which employees are most committed to the firm and are likely to become good corporate citizens.

Details

Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-379-2

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