Management theory and employee ownership

So, today, 4 July, is Employee Ownership Day. It’s the UK’s first annual celebration of employee owned businesses, led by government with support from the mutual sector.

It’s aim is to raise awareness of the employee owned business model which is already quite sizable, turning over around £30 billion and accounting for around 3 % of GDP.

There are pros and cons to ‘days’ like this. But one thing is for certain, now is a time to highlight the benefits of employee owned businesses.

A quick overview of recent management and businesses thinking (from people like Gary Hamel, Linda Gratton, Michael Porter, Bo Burlingham and others) brings to light some key ideas that are coming to define the way we think about, and do, business:

  •  To be productive, a business doesn’t just need good processes – it needs engaged employees who care about the business and share its vision
  •  As employees’ expectations change, leaders need to be adopt a more collaborative and participative style
  •  Innovation and product development should be welcome not only from the management and R&D  teams, but also from the wider workforce who have ideas and experience others don’t
  •  Long-term sustainability comes from putting the interests of stakeholders with an interest in the future of the business at its heart – the employees are the most significant stakeholders any business has, in this respect

Although it’s not said often enough, it’s blindingly obvious: employee owned businesses put these and many other new management ideas into practice, and have been doing for years.