Americans Want Employee Ownership

It’s no surprise that Americans disagree about a lot of things….

Just try getting consensus on a group of people’s preference for cats or dogs, pie flavors or person most likely to take the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones. Close to impossible.

However, in new research released in May, funded by the Employee Ownership Foundation, and conducted by Rutgers researchers, it has become clear that the one thing we can all agree on is that we want to work for a company owned by its employees.

Nearly three-fourths of respondents (72 percent) to the General Social Survey would rather work for an employee-owned company than one owned by conventional shareholders or the government. 

The research also reveled that employee owned businesses enjoy uniquely broad support among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Employees’ preference for employee owned companies transcend ideological and partisan divides, with 74 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans, and 67 percent of Independents voicing a preference for employee ownership.

Among respondents who cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election, 76.5 percent of Trump voters and 75.5 percent of Clinton voters prefer employee share ownership.

“These results show that employee ownership is the equivalent of a political unicorn—something very large majorities of Americans agree upon, completely independent of political leanings,” said Jim Bonham, President of the Employee Ownership Foundation. “This research shows that employees across the spectrum value owning a stake in the companies where they work. After decades in Washington, I can say this level of political agreement is truly unique and shows that employee ownership transcends our nation’s political divide.”

“These results show that employee ownership is the equivalent of a political unicorn—something very large majorities of Americans agree upon, completely independent of political leanings,” said Jim Bonham, President of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

“Americans disagree about a lot of things, but this is not one of them,” said Beyster Distinguished Professor Joseph Blasi, Director of the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing. “Democrat or Republican, female or male, black or white, union or non-union, a majority of respondents said they prefer to work for a company with employee share ownership. It is rare to find such a national consensus on anything.”

The survey findings align with recent bipartisan support for employee share ownership on Capitol Hill. In 2018, the Republican chairs and Democratic ranking members of the Senate and House Committees on Small Business co-sponsored the Main Street Employee Ownership Act. Signed last August, the new law makes it easier for retiring business owners to sell to their employees through an ESOP.

Rutgers University Announces Fellowships

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ recently announced fellowships to study employee ownership and profit-sharing. A quick headline and summary below:

Rutgers Awards Fellowships to Study Contributions of Employee Ownership, Profit-Sharing to Business Success

June 18, 2013

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – It is well-documented that companies in which workers have a financial stake through profit-sharing and employee stock ownership can benefit from higher economic performance and productivity than otherwise comparable firms that do not follow those practices. To study the role that shares can potentially play in the success of firms, as well as the evolving social and economic structure of the corporation and the future of American business, Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) has appointed 18 new research fellows…

Read the full release here.

Additional information about the Fellowships can be found on the Rutger’s School of Management and Labor Relations website.

In May, the Employee Ownership Foundation announced this year’s Louis O. Kelso Fellows. The Louis O. Kelso Fellowships are awarded to scholars studying broadened ownership of capital in the U.S. The Fellowships are part of the national fellowship program on employee stock ownership of the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University. You can find additional information here.

Guest Post – Employee Ownership Research

Today we welcome Dr. Joseph Blasi as our guest. At The ESOP Association’s 2012 Annual Conference in May, Dr. Joseph Blasi, a well-known and respected researcher in the employee ownership field, spoke to Conference attendees at the Employee Ownership Foundation Luncheon. He discussed new research on employee ownership and offered new insights on the findings from the 2010 General Social Survey. Dr. Blasi has been kind enough to share his presentation, and additional information, with Association members here on the blog.

First, a little bit about Dr. Blasi. He is the J. Robert Beyster Professor of Employee Ownership and a sociologist at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and his work includes economic sociology, the social and economic history of the corporation, and public policy, particularly, broad-based employee stock ownership, profit sharing, gain sharing, and stock options in corporations, in countries, and in industries. For a complete bio, please visit the Rutgers University website here

Now, let’s hear from Professor Blasi:

I enjoyed speaking with members of so many ESOP companies from around the United States at the recent Employee Ownership Foundation Luncheon at The ESOP Association’s Annual Conference in May. The Annual Awards Dinner made a lasting impression on me, since as a researcher, I do not often get to hear the individual stories and get a peek into the cultures of so many companies. I thought I would share the Power Points from my talk and a very brief summary of the new research on employee ownership, along with two tables on what we now know about employee ownership from the 2010 General Social Survey.  If there are any questions, please feel free to email me at blasiATsmlr.rutgers.edu.

The following are links to the above mentioned tables about employee ownership from the 2010 General Social Survey and the summary of new research on employee ownership.

TABLE 1:  Participation in Employee Ownership and Stock Options, 2002-2010

TABLE 2: Participation in US Equity Programs, by Job Characteristics (2010)

FROM: The June Issue 2012

National Bureau for Economic Research Newsletter

Does Linking Worker Pay to Firm Performance Help the Best Firms Do Even Better?

If you would like to download a copy of Dr. Blasi’s Power Point presentation, please click here. We’ll share below a few slides from the presentation.

Louis O. Kelso Fellows Chosen by Rutgers University

The following press release was sent out by the Employee Ownership Foundation today.

Louis O. Kelso Fellows Chosen by Rutgers University –

Employee Ownership Foundation Provides Grant Money for Fellowship Program

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2012

For More Information: Amy Gwiazdowski, 202/293-2971, amy@esopassociation.org

April 12, 2012 (Washington, DC) – The Employee Ownership Foundation, in collaboration with the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), is proud to announce the recipients of the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships for 2012 – 2013. The Louis O. Kelso Fellowships are awarded to scholars studying broadened ownership of capital in the U.S. The Fellowships are administered by the SMLR at Rutgers University. For additional information about the Kelso Fellowship and the SMLR, please visit: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/kelso-fellows.

“The Employee Ownership Foundation is pleased to once again sponsor the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships program through the Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations,” said Employee Ownership Foundation Chair, Frieda S. Takaki. “It’s a very exciting day for the Foundation and the employee ownership field at large. We are proud to support this research as the evidence shows employee ownership is good for employees, the companies, the communities, and, yes, our country.”

The list of 2012 – 2013 Louis O. Kelso Fellows and research topics:

Andy Kim, Ph.D. candidate, Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations Program in Industrial Relations and Human Resources

Question: How do employees’ attributions to Employee Stock Ownership Plans affect their attitudes and behaviors using a survey of the workers of a major New Jersey ESOP company?

Kyle Farmbry, Associate Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration and Juris Doctorate Candidate, Rutgers University School of Law (Ph.D. from George Washington University in Public Administration in 1999)

Question: What are the legal barriers to the further growth and development of broad-based ESOPs?  What is the relevance of broad-based ESOPs to poverty alleviation and wealth creation for citizens? 

Sanjay Joseph Pinto, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University Program in Sociology and Social Policy

Question: What is the orientation of union decision-makers in the United States towards employee stock ownership?

George Edward Cheney, Professor, Kent State University School of Communication Studies (Ph.D. from Purdue University in Communications, 1985)

Question: What are the best practices to develop a worker ownership culture in terms of orientation and training, human resources, and corporate communications?

Richard Simpson, Lecturer, University of Miami Program in Modern Thought and Literature (Ph.D. from Stanford University in Modern Thought and Literature in 2010)

Question: What can we learn about former Senator Stanford’s support of worker ownership as a way of overcoming the central conflict of industrial capitalism from the Leland Stanford Papers at Stanford University?

Jacquelyn Yates, Associate Professor Emerita, Kent State University Department of Political Science

Question: What can be learned about the problem and promise of ESOPs from a new survey of one of the largest network of ESOP firms in Ohio?

In addition to the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships, the Employee Ownership Foundation also helped to fund the Joseph Cabral Distinguished Scholar and Fellow through a Foundation pass through donation.

The 2012 – 2013 Joseph Cabral Distinguished Scholar and Fellow:

Erik Olsen, Associate Professor, University of Missouri at Kansas City Department of Economics (Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Economics in 2005)

Question: Regarding majority employee-owned firms, what are the possible mechanisms that enhance their productivity, what role can they play in durable economic development, and what policies might be warranted in connection with them?

The Employee Ownership Foundation is The ESOP Association’s affiliated 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting employee ownership. More information: www.employeeownershipfoundation.org.

Founded in 1978, The ESOP Association represents over 1,400 ESOP companies who believe that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: www.esopassociation.org and www.esopassociationblog.org.

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Employee Ownership Foundation Approves Funding for New Kelso Fellowships

Employee Ownership Foundation News

The following release was sent out by the Employee Ownership Foundation. We wanted to share the news with readers here on the blog.

 For Immediate Release: February 13, 2012

For More Information: Amy Gwiazdowski, 202/293-2971, amy@esopassociation.org

 Employee Ownership Foundation Approves Funding for New Kelso Fellowships

February 13, 2012 (Washington, DC) – In 2012, the Employee Ownership Foundation will once again fund the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships which are awarded to scholars studying broadened ownership of capital in the U.S. The Fellowships are administered by the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) at Rutgers University. For additional information about the Kelso Fellowship and the SMLR, please visit: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/kelso-fellows.

In 2012, the Employee Ownership Foundation’s $67,500 gift will fund five Kelso Fellows bringing the total of Kelso Fellowships awarded since 2008 to 18.

“The Employee Ownership Foundation is pleased to once again sponsor the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships program through Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations. The mission of the Foundation is to develop research and data to support employee ownership through the ESOP model and we have seen some promising work in the last few years. The Foundation is proud to support this research,” said J. Michael Keeling, president of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

The Employee Ownership Foundation is The ESOP Association’s affiliated 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting employee ownership. More information: www.employeeownershipfoundation.org.

Founded in 1978, The ESOP Association represents over 1,400 ESOP companies who believe that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: www.esopassociation.org and www.esopassociationblog.org.

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