The MoralDNA of Employee Owned Companies

Friday 25 September 2015

There is growing interest in employee ownership as an alternative to more conventionally used business models such as PLCs, LLPs and family owned companies. The Nuttall review of 2012 examined barriers to the more widespread use of employee ownership and the UK Government has demonstrated its support for the employee trust model of employee ownership, with the Finance Act 2014 providing tax reliefs for those wishing to adopt this business format.

Part of that interest is because of the impact that employee ownership can have on how the business is managed. Employee ownership is often associated with high levels of motivation and engagement, and with impressive company longevity. We wanted to explore whether it is also connected to different ethical standards. This paper presents key findings from a research project, with data from a survey of 1019 employees – managers and non-managers alike – across 15 employee owned companies. It is unique in providing insights into companies owned through the employee trust model of ownership in particular.

The findings have been aggregated into one anonymous group and analysed to see if there are any correlations which may indicate that the moral standards of employees from employee owned trust companies differ from other sectors and may have a significant impact on business performance. The results are compared with employees in other sectors, using the MoralDNA™ 1 database, and to the sample of managers surveyed for the previous CMI reports in this series.