Steven F. Freeman

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Employee Ownership Research

page last modified: 02/25/2012 08:16 AM

     In 2004, I began to teach and meet many managers and workers of employee-owned enterprises when the University of Pennsylvania Organizational Dynamics program began a working relationship with The ESOP Association.[1] At the time, and continuing through February 2012, I'd been very involved in the Election Integrity movement, founding and running the organization that gave its name to the movement, writing many articles and a book detailing US election vulnerability and theft and developing election verification measures. That cause proved far beyond my resources and capabilities to fight effectively. However, I came to recognize that political democracy is impossible without greater economic democracy, both so as to lessen inequalities and provide an economic basis for collective action.

     In 2006, with encouragement from Ginny Vanderslice of the Praxis Consulting Group, ESOP Association President Michael Keeling and Larry Spivey of the Intrepid Equity Group; and with a grant from David Fenkell of Alliance Holdings, I conducted a comprehensive review of the scholarly literature  to determine what we do and do not know about the benefits (and costs) of employee ownership. The resultant report, “Effects of ESOP Adoption and Employee Ownership: Thirty years of Research and Experience" was posted on 2007-01-10 has had nearly 3,000 full-text downloads, and is (as of 9/30/11) the all-time most downloaded paper in the history of the University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons

     A second report written with Michael Knoll of the UPenn Law School, and with the support of Employee-Owned S-Corporation of America (ESCA), “S Corp ESOP Legislation Benefits and Costs: Public Policy and Tax Analysis" was posted on 2008-08-06 and has also had well over 1,000 full-text downloads.

     In 2011, I received a Louis O. Kelso Fellowship to try to pubilsh these reports in journals and to also begin to study the effects of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) adoption and how ESOPs deal with adversity. As part of my research I updated the Curriculum Library on Employee Ownership to include important employee ownership research and developed a bibliographic database for use by researchers and others who wish to do more comprehensive searches and/or include citations and references.

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