On Ownership and Membership
1990 (English)In: Economic and Industrial Democracy, ISSN 0143-831X, E-ISSN 1461-7099, Vol. 11, no 2, 217-247 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The issue of ownership occupies a central place in research on selfmanagement. This preoccupation has all but relegated other, no less central elements of self-management to a residual role. The actual contribution of ownership is examined in two groups of cases where worker ownership was grafted upon an existing organizational structure: a Swedish sample of worker-owned firms and American ESOP schemes. The findings, buttressed by a theoretical review of the mandator approach and of the managerial revolution thesis, suggest that the conventional model of the self-managed enterprise as a 'firm owned by workers', is theoretically inconsistent and yields, where followed in practice, highly unsatisfactory results. The issue is then reexamined in a theoretical consideration of the concept of ownership and of the way property rights approaches may be applied in the case of complex, indivisible assets, such as an industrial plant. Different ownership constructions are discussed, and the concept of ownership is contrasted with that of membership. It is argued that ownership constructions current among worker-owned enterprises do, in fact, represent attempts to convert ownership to membership.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1990. Vol. 11, no 2, 217-247 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-6774DOI: 10.1177/0143831X90112005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-6774DiVA: diva2:404419