The employee owned business model during growth and adversity - how well does it hold up
Criticism of modern corporate capitalism in the wake of the current economic crisis is reawakening interest in alternative ownership and governance models such as employee owned businesses (EOBs). EOBs are well suited for knowledge intensive firms where their combination of ownership and employee participation in decision-making fosters initiative and commitment. However, the relationship between ownership and employee participation that is central to the EOB advantage is potentially undermined by growth and complexity.
This article reports on the results of a survey and archival study on UK-based EOBs that examines this issue. Taking advantage of the economic crisis, the study also examines EOB performance under adverse business conditions. Analysis of the archival data shows that EOBs lose their performance advantage over non-EOBs as they grow larger. EOBs, however, performed better over the entire business cycle, including the onset of the current economic crisis, demonstrating resilience and business sustainability relative to non-EOBs.
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