Steven F. Freeman
Motivation: Scholars from many disciplines provide a wealth of diverse perspectives and research on employee ownership and other forms of shared capitalism. The lack of a well-institutionalized curriculum and established bibliography, however, can be an obstacle for those interested in getting the big picture or generally learning more. To provide access to the full range of literature, The Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED) and the Employee Ownership Foundation (EOF) had previously established a database for teaching materials, but it was recognized that a complementary research database could facilitate employee ownership scholarship and publication.
Project Purpose: Establish a bibliographic database of core employee ownership research and scholarship to facilitate researchers, who wish to do comprehensive searches of employee-ownership scholarship, and to facilitate their ability to properly cite and reference their work..
A bibliographic database is an organized digital collection of references for use by researchers and others who need to do comprehensive searches, and properly cite and reference their work. Good bibliographic database records contain rich subject descriptions in the form of keywords, subject classification terms and abstracts.
There are a dozen or so reference management software programs with which one could create and access such a bibliographic database. The three most popular are Endnote, RefWorks and Zotero; a library established in any of these three could be easily converted for use in any of the others.
To obtain a comprehensive list of notable ESOP and employee ownership research, I’ve drawn on several sources – my own literature review of ESOP and employee ownership research (Freeman 2010), the ISI Citation Index, Google Scholar and Amazon books.
In my review of research and scholarship on employee ownership, I looked at a wide range of work to attempt to answer big fundamental questions of employee ownership: What do we really know about employee ownership?, and based on what we know, What are the benefits and costs of employee ownership?, as well as several derivative questions:
• What is the extent of employee ownership and its rate of growth (or decline) over the past half-century?
• What accounts for the adoption of ESOP legislation and what has been its impact? What role, if any, do tax benefits play in the growth or curtailment of employee ownership?
• What are the mechanisms by which employee ownership leads to desired outcomes?
• If employee ownership plans work so well, why aren’t they more common? Why isn’t the phenomenon more widely reported or appreciated?
• Why are academics reluctant to fully embrace employee ownership?
Worksheet 2.1 is a complete listing of all references in Freeman (2010). As summarized in the key at the top, the paper has 96 total references, of which 81 are employee ownership references. Of these, seven (7) are weak articles that I criticize, and of the remaining 74, only seven (7) are already included in CLEO.
That leaves us with 67 items to add to CLEO, Worksheet 2.2. Of these, I’ve identified nine (9) works that have been influential in promoting ESOP legislation and the growth of employee ownership as seminal. Fifty four (54) qualify as important research, works that proved useful in answering questions of employee ownership scope and efficacy, two (2) are other books or articles and two (2) are related scholarship.
The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge
The ISI Web of Knowledge (formerly the ISI Citation Index) is a comprehensive index of scientific literature. It includes a complete listing of the references cited by a particular article and, correspondingly, the works which cite that article. Unfortunately, at this time, the ISI index only includes peer-reviewed journal articles, thus omitting books as well as other kinds of publications.
There are shortcomings to equating importance with citation counts, including:
(1) Influence beyond the narrow scientific community is overlooked, as a book or magazine article read by millions may not generate scientific citations. Indeed, no books were included in the most cited lists, including the Kelso books that were instrumental in helping the original ESOP legislation to pass.
(2) Citation counts are often more a function of funding, gamesmanship and publishing processes than good work.
Despite the concerns, ISI citation counts serve as the best available proxy for how influential work is within a scholarly/scientific community.
An ISI search of the topic "employee ownership" yields a total of 217 articles. (Figure 3a is page one of the resultant ISI citation report). 173 articles in the scientific literature are denoted by the topic “ESOP.” Combining the two, as per Figure 3b, yields 373 articles, the records of which I’ve put into an excel Worksheet 3.1. The total of the combined search is less than the sum of the two because 17 articles are denoted by both these terms. (I would have thought that a greater percentage of ESOP articles would also be denoted by "employee ownership”)
“ESOP” turns out to be a problematic search term as it has significance in applied math and computer science. I’ve eliminated 50 such non-relevant works and placed them in Worksheet 3.2, leaving us with a total of 323 scientific articles about employee ownership or ESOPs.
For the CLEO database we want important or influential works. To determine which works specifically to include, I consider the citation counts in several ways. Total cites indicates influence over time. Average annual cites puts newer articles on a more even footing with older ones. Educators may also want to see newer articles, especially those that seem to be currently influential, so I’ve also counted more heavily cites in the most recent 4 years and most recent 2 years as indicators of currently relevant and influential work.
To create a total Current Influence Index (CCI), I sum these indicators using the following formula:
CCI = Total cites + (Average annual cites * 10) + cites since 2008 + cites since 2010
In Worksheet 3.3, I rank all the ISI articles according to this index. I’ve set the recommended bar for inclusion in the CLEO database rather low at 21. This includes any article with 15 or more overall cites, average annual cites greater than 1 and/or several recent cites – a total of 46 articles. I might have set it higher, but as it turns out all the articles with indices between 21 and 25 are articles with which I am familiar and which I believe are notable either for the quality of the work, the specific findings or the areas in which the work was conducted.
Worksheet 3.4 is a list of the top ranked 46 sorted by author name so that I could cross-reference with our other databases. Surprisingly, only 2 of the 46 most cited articles are already in the CLEO database – and those two barely made the list. An additional 12 are also included in the Freeman 2010 citations to add to CLEO (more of these works ought to be included in my revision). This leaves 32 new articles to include in CLEO (in addition to the 67 to be added from Freeman 2010).
Google Scholar is a less precise but more comprehensive database than ISI – more comprehensive because it includes books and non-peer reviewed articles. Like ISI, Google Scholar relies on citation counts, but unlike ISI, it also takes into consideration other factors such as links that may account for influence beyond the narrow scientific community.
Google Scholar, however, is also a haphazard system. It may include highly biased work, work based on ungrounded assertions and/or assertions that are just plain wrong. Also the database is filled with errors of all types. Despite the concerns, these Google rankings serve as the best available proxy for use in the larger world of practitioners and policy-makers.
I’ve taken the first three pages of Google Scholar “employee ownership” search finds, which provides 31 references (Worksheet 4.1). Searches rarely go beyond the first three pages, so anything of central importance ought to appear here. It also seemed to mark a natural cut-off, with the 31st item, a book which I wanted to capture because books are not included in ISI.
To this list of 31, I included (only) three additional items from my Google Scholar “ESOP” search, Worksheet 4.2. The other items on the first page of the Google Scholar “ESOP” search consisted of items already identified in the “employee ownership” search or non-relevant ESOP articles, i.e., those pertaining to applied math or computer science ESOP functions. I didn’t look beyond the first page because those three seemed to have considerably less influence than even the third page of “employee ownership” listings as indicated by total cites – 33, 36 and 44 – as compared to the counts ranging from a low of 44 to a high of over 200 for the “employee ownership” listings.
So all told our Google scholar search yielded a total of 34 influential works sorted by author in Worksheet 4.3. Six (6) of these are already in CLEO. An additional 18 have already been identified in Freeman2010 and/or ISI, leaving 10 additional items to be added.
Of the 34 works identified as most important from the Google Scholar search, only six were books (including several borderline items added because they were books).
Amazon’s database lists 1,350 books that are at least tangentially about "employee ownership.” Given this number and that we only have been able to identify 6 (out of 82 total works) through ISI and Google Scholar, I decided to supplement to searches with three book searches. Amazon provides three useful sorting systems to identify notable books: Relevance, Sales and Customer Rating.
I have been unable to ascertain how Amazon determines and ranks relevance, but its list of twelve most relevant books seems a good one:
Amazon "employee ownership” Books
Sorted by Relevance
1. Equity: Why Employee Ownership Is Good For Business by Corey Rosen, John Case and Martin Staubus (May 1, 2005) (10 customer reviews) 5 stars
2. Companies We Keep (Revised & Expanded): Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place by John Abrams and William Greider (Nov 8, 2008) (5 customer reviews) 5 stars
Excerpt - Page 17: "... a new era: not every man a proprietor, but every employee an owner.4 This is not far-fetched, and widespread recognition of the importance of employee ownership may be one of the keys to a restorative future. ..."
3. All Hands on Deck: 8 Essential Lessons for Building a Culture of Ownership by Joe Tye (Jul 13, 2010) (7 customer reviews) 5 stars
Excerpt - Page 115: "... characteristic of a culture of ownership is employee engagement. You’ve probably seen Gallup survey results showing that only ..."
4. Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit by Brad Hams (Sep 16, 2011)
5. Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-Based Stock Options (National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report) by Douglas L. Kruse, Richard B. Freeman and Joseph R. Blasi (May 1, 2011)
6. Ownership Quotient: Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work for Unbeatable Competitive Advantage by James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser and Joe Wheeler (Dec 8, 2008) (6 customer reviews) 5 stars
Excerpt - Page 7: "... FIGURE 1-1 The ownership hierarchy (for employees and customers) Employee ownership Offering ideas about how to improve ..."
7. An Introduction to ESOPs: How an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) can benefit your company, its owners, and its employees by Scott Rodrick (Nov 1, 2010) - Kindle eBook
8. Participatory Employee Ownership: How It Works: Best Practices In Employee Ownership by John Logue, Karen Thomas, Chris Cooper and Alex Teodosio (Jul 1, 1998) (2 customer reviews) 5 stars
9. Incentive Compensation and Employee Ownership, Fifth Edition by Scott Rodrick (Apr 2004)
Excerpt - Page 4: "... 4 INCENTIVE COMPENSATION AND EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP with little understanding of what they are getting back. If ..."
10. Employee Stock Ownership Plan Answer Book, Second Edition by Idelle A. Howitt (Nov 16, 2005)
Excerpt - Page 7: "... Scharf, and Jim Keogh, "Wealth and Income Consequences of Employee Ownership, A Comparitive [sic] Study from Washington State" (National Center for Employee ..."
11. Financial Valuation of Employee Stock Ownership Plan Shares by Larry R. Cook (Jun 14, 2005) (3 customer reviews) 5 stars
Excerpt - Page 1: "... Introduction to ERISA and ERISA Plans* T he employee stock ownership plan, or "ESOP," has emerged as a special qualified retirement ..."
12. Act Like an Owner: Building an Ownership Culture by Robert M. Blonchek and Martin F. O'Neill (Mar 25, 1999) (6 customer reviews) 4 1/2 stars
Amazon "employee ownership" Books
Sort by Bestselling
non-central books are grayed
non-relevant books are even lighter and smaller
1. The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor (Columbia Business School Publishing) by Howard Marks (May 1, 2011)
(9 customer reviews) 4.5 stars
2. Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara (Jul 1, 2010) (20 customer reviews) 4.5 stars
3. Accounting for Value (Columbia Business School Publishing) by Stephen H. Penman (Jan 11, 2011)
(2 customer reviews) 5 stars
Excerpt - Page 31: "... borrowing through convertible securities and indeed the cost of compensating employees with stock options. ..."
4. The Partnership Charter: How to Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix The One You're In) by David Gage (Jun 29, 2004)
(23 customer reviews) 5 stars
Excerpt - Page 85: "... a few instances in which cofounders sought to have key employees share in ownership, but adding them as partners grew complicated and contentious."
5. Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World's Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life by Dennis snow (Aug 2, 2010) Excerpt - Page 76: "... to cultivate a strong sense of ownership in their employees. Cast members treat the guests and the facilities with genuine ..."
6. The Educated Franchisee: The How-To Book for Choosing a Winning Franchise, 2nd Edition by Rick Bisio (Jan 24, 2011) (6 customer reviews) 5 stars
7. Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest by Peter Block (Jan 1, 1993) (17 customer reviews) 4.5 stars
Excerpt - Page 176: "... The idea that employees should own part of a business has been around for a long time. Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) have made it easier for employees to purchase ..."
8. All Hands on Deck: 8 Essential Lessons for Building a Culture of Ownership (#3 on Relevance list)
9. More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places (Updated and Expanded) (Columbia Business School Publishing) by Michael Mauboussin (2007) (52 customer reviews) 4.5 stars
10. The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know by Stephen Fishman (Sep 5, 2008) (11 customer reviews) 4.5 stars Excerpt - Page 190: "... purposes and then turn around and claim he was an employee for copyright ownership purposes—he had to be treated the same way for both ..."
11. Profit From Your Idea: How to Make Smart Licensing Deals by Richard Stim (Jan 2, 2011) (18 customer reviews) 4.5 stars
12. High Tech Start Up, Revised and Updated: The Complete Handbook For Creating Successful New High Tech Companies by John L. Nesheim (Mar 16, 2000) (54 customer reviews) 4.5 stars
Excerpt - Page 134: "... TABLE 8-2. Ownership by Employees and Investors Just Before IP0* Includes all options granted ..."
Amazon "employee ownership" Books
Sort by customer rating
1. Beans: Four Principles for Running a Business in Good Times or Bad by Leslie Yerkes, Charles Decker and Bob Nelson (Jun 5, 2003) (48 customer reviews)
Excerpt - Page 70: "... that the most successful businesses are those in which the employees take ownership, ..."
2. Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization on the Growth Track--and Keeping It There by Les McKeown (Jun 7, 2010) (24 customer reviews)
Excerpt - Page 174: "... redirecting the focus of employees’ ownership and self-accountability back to the attainment of real, measurable, operational ..."
3. The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (#4 on BestSellers list)
4. Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success by Leonard L. Berry (Feb 12, 1999) (20 customer reviews)
Excerpt - Page 6: "... in Years in Company Headquarters Principal Business a. Operations Employees Ownership Business b. Business Bergstrom Hotels Appleton, ..."
5. Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest by Peter Block (Jan 1, 1993) (on both other lists)
6. The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, an d Place by John Abrams and William Grieder (May 30, 2005)(15 customer reviews)
7. Getting Results: Five Absolutes for High Performance by Clinton O. Longenecker and Jack L. Simonetti (Jun 1, 2001) (12 customer reviews) Excerpt - Page 86: "... very positive effect on overall performance. • Practice 2: Motivate Employees to Create Ownership and ..."
8. What Really Matters: Service, Leadership, People, and Values by John Pepper (May 16, 2007) (12 customer reviews) Excerpt - Index: "... ), 121, 264, 265 employees (see employees; ownership, sense of) Executive Leadership Conference (1987), 246 families’ importance to, ..."
9. A Stake in the Outcome: Building a Culture of Ownership for the Long-Term Success of Your Business by Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham (Sep 16, 2003) (11 customer reviews)
Excerpt - Page 15: "... equity stake, and sooner or later the limits of their ownership become apparent. They hit a wall in their education. They may become better employees, ..."
10. The Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know by Stephen Fishman (Sep 5, 2008)(11 customer reviews)
11. Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business by Kelin E. Gersick, John A. Davis, Marion McCollom Hampton and Ivan Lansberg (Jan 1, 1997) (11 customer reviews) Excerpt - Page 30: 22. Employee ownership is a controversial version of a restricted expansion of ownership…"
12. Equity: Why Employee Ownership Is Good For Business by Corey Rosen, (#1 on Relevance list)
The Amazon searches yielded a total of 21 works listed on Worksheet 5.1; of these, six (6) are already in CLEO and none were obtained in our other searches, leaving 15 additional items to be added.
Summaries and Future Considerations
Accompanying Worksheets and Figures
(Items in blue are those that you may want to print to accompany a printed report)
Worksheet 1.1 The complete CLEO database in spreadsheet form (16 pages, 482 items)
Worksheet 2.1 is a complete listing of all references in Freeman 2010 (3 pages, 102 items)
Worksheet 2.2: 67 items from Freeman (2010) to add to CLEO (2 pages)
Figure 3a: Page 1 of ISI citation report for most cited works on employee ownership
Figure 3b: Combining the ISI “employee ownership” and “ESOP” citation searches
Worksheet 3.1: 373 articles on "employee ownership" or “ESOP” in the scientific literature
Worksheet 3.2: eliminated irrelevant ESOP articles
Worksheet 3.3: 320 relevant refereed articles on "employee ownership" or “ESOP”
Worksheet 3.4: Top Ranked 34 employee ownership/ESOP ISI articles to add to CLEO
Worksheet 4.1: Google Scholar “employee ownership” Search
Worksheet 4.2. Google Scholar “ESOP” search
Worksheet 4.3. Google Scholar influential works to add to CLEO
Worksheet 5.1: Top Ranked Amazon books on “employee ownership”
Table 1: Total Recommended Additions to CLEO
Source References Already in CLEO Duplicates Total New Additions
Freeman (2010) 74 7 -- 67
ISI Citation Index 46 2 12 32
Google Scholar 34 6 18 10
Amazon 21 6 0 15
Total 175 114
As indicated in Table 1, I’ve recommended adding 114 works. These are listed on four excel worksheets in the four documents associated with each search.
Other sources considered but not used
I would have liked to use discipline-based databases of scholarly work such as PsycINFO, Sociological abstracts, or Economic literature, but did not because although they are comprehensive, they offer no guidance on the relative value of listed sources, i.e., no citation counts or influence rankings.
Possible future sources
I will also investigate other databases to see if they have ranking systems.
I will be revising Freeman (2010), and can at that time consider additional inclusions for CLEO.
Finally, we can solicit members of the employee ownership scholarly community for other materials to include. Two such opportunities for solicitation include
(1) In announcing this report.
(2) In the upcoming Beyster conference in San Diego and communications surrounding that conference.
Method: To ensure comprehensive inclusion of notable work on employee ownership and other forms of shared capitalism, I’ve drawn on several sources – my own literature review of employee ownership research, “Effects of ESOP Adoption and Employee Ownership”  the ISI Citation Index, Google Scholar, Amazon books and WorldCat rankings.
Freeman (2007): In my review of research and scholarship on employee ownership, I looked at a wide range of work to attempt to determine:
The paper has 96 total references, of which only seven (7) were already included in CLEO. Among the remaining 89, I identified XX for immediate inclusion, and XX for subsequent inclusion as time and resources permit.
ISI Citation Counts serve as a proxy for how influential a work is within the scholarly/scientific community. A June 15, 2011 ISI search of the topic "employee ownership" or ESOP yields a total of 273 articles. Here are the top ten listings. a comprehensive index of articles from peer-reviewed scholarly journals. It includes a complete listing of the references cited by a particular article and a list of works that have cited that article. Although it includes only peer-reviewed journal articles and su