Recapitalizing the U.S. Economy: Envisioning the Role of Broad Employee Ownership: The Scholarly Agenda Advances
40 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2011 Last revised: 19 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 5, 2011
Recapitalizing the U.S. economy continues to be a critical topic throughout 2010, because of the turmoil caused by the serious collapse in the financial infrastructure in the U.S. over the preceding years. Questions are still being raised in many quarters - the policy arena, the press, community groups, and business schools - about what a sustainable economy looks like and how it would benefit the greatest number of people.
How is capital to be generated, deployed, and distributed? Capital refers to company stock that owns the capital of corporations, pools of capital concentrated in various funds, the capital provided by nature’s abundance, the human capital we build in organizations, and the social capital in organizations and communities.
The researchers at this symposium are investigating the premise that employee ownership - including equity compensation, profit sharing, and democratic work practices - can play an integral role in economic revitalization through the creation and distribution of capital. Recapitalization in finance typically refers to a change in the capital structure of a corporation in order to create more stability and better performance. We are using this term in the general sense of the role of increasing the equity of the American worker in U.S. capitalism in order to contribute to making the economy more stable and sustainable.
To understand whether and how employee ownership can play a role in recapitalizing the economy, scholars pursue specific questions that contribute to the bigger picture (see details in section 4). They examine how employees respond to the perceived risk of ownership shares as compensation, employees’ satisfaction and motivation, and their compensation levels. They look at how firms with employee ownership perform, marshal human capital to produce innovations, and return higher value to shareholders. They compare these dynamics across industries and assess the prevalence and spread of employee ownership in different forms.
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