Employee share ownership in the UK bus industry
The aim of this thesis was to generate a series of propositions identifying the elements most likely to be found in 'durable' employee-owned organisations. Previous studies in the field had often been marked by the assumption that benefits associated with employee share ownership, including reduced 'social divisions' between employees and their managers and a greater propensity among the former to work harder, would follow in all employee-owned enterprises, Few researchers had addressed the 'empirical reality' and 'diversity' of individual employee share ownership conversions and the circumstances in which systems had been created, implemented and subsequently managed by organisations.' Areas covered by the thesis included an examination of employee participation structur'es in different employee share ownership environments and 'feelings of ownership and commitment' among employee shareholders. The thesis also considered whether the 'traditional' trade union role would be undermined by new forms of representation and participation resulting from the introduction of employee share ownership programmes, Applying an extensive 'multimethod' approach, quantitative and qualitative data were collected over an eighteen-month period from six organisations in the UK bus industry -regarded by the mid 1990s as the most important locus of employee-owned companies. In 1994, some twenty-five UK bus companies were defined as 'employee-owned', generally consisting of non-managerial employees holding at least 25 per cent of the equity in their work places, Results from the investigation revealed that 'direct monetary investment' by employees and extensive information and communication programmes were among the elements characterising durable employee-owned organisations, Preservation of the 'traditional' trade union role was also evident, with employee shareholders generally content to participate in company matters through their union, More broadly, the thesis concluded that recognition in future research of the interplay of different variables was essential to increase understanding in relation to employee commitment, participation and industrial relations outcomes.