Do Employee-Owned Firms Produce More Positive Employee Behavioural Outcomes? If Not Why Not? A British-Spanish Comparative Analysis
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British Journal of Industrial Relations 56(2) : 292-319 (2018)
[EN]Whether ‘employee ownership’ takes the form of worker cooperatives, co-ownership or simply employee share ownership plans, there are normally high expectations that a range of positive outcomes will result. Yet many empirically-based studies tend to find a much more complex picture. An influential segment of that empirical literature has posited the need for a number of mutually-reinforcing workforce management components to be in place alongside co-ownership. Drawing on detailed case research in two large and successful co-owned retailers in Spain and Britain this paper examines the role of these wider elements supporting employee ownership. We find that employee ownership can be linked to higher productivity and lower employee turnover, while at the same time being linked to higher absenteeism and mixed effects on attitudes. Expectations held by managers and employees are higher; these expectations are not always fully met. The role of managers was also found to be crucial.