The 9th International Conference in Critical Management Studies, Leicester, 8-10 July 2015
Call for Papers for the Sub-Theme:
The long and winding road of employee ownership –
What can we learn from the experiences with Employee Share Ownership and Employee Owned Companies in Central and Eastern Europe before, during, and after transformation?
The academic literature on ESOP and EOC in CEE is characterized by at least two omissions. First, it remains rather silent about the relationship between EOC and ESOPs in CEE countries, though ESOP has been widely used as an instrument of mass privatization in several CEE countries and has led to majority employee share ownership (ESO) in a large number of firms. This neglect reminds us of the fact that despite close topical, theoretical, and empirical associations, the phenomena of EOC and ESOP have scarcely been discussed together in the academic discourse at all. Ironically, while the EOC literature stresses the negative aspects of this specific employee ownership form, such as the degenerative tendencies and a limited viability of EOCs, the ESOP literature propagates the positive aspects of ESO, such as identification with the firm or productivity gains.
Second, the academic discussion on the role of ESOPs and EOCs in the transformation process in CEE countries is rather disconnected from the traditional discourse about the emancipatory role of ESOPs and EOCs in the Western world. Moreover, there are hardly any references made to the debate about ‘labor-managed-firms` in ‘labor-managed’ or ‘mixed’ economies, which had a very strong theoretical basis in terms of the “Illyrian Firm” (B. Ward) or the “pure rental firm” (M.C. Jensen & W.H. Meckling) . Ironically, in particular neoliberal scholars have suggested that ESOPs or even EOC could work well as instruments for mass privatization during the economic transformation in CEE. Thus, participatory ways of organizing are utilized by politics and management as a vehicle to transform firms towards the normal corporate form. Moreover, the implications of the rather sharp and fast decline of ESO and EOCs in the CEE countries following privatization has not been systematically reflected in the literature yet.
Thus, our current understanding of ESOPs and EOCs in CEE is limited by a lack of coherent empirical data, by a lacking connection of the experiences in CEE during transformation to the strong theoretical tradition, and by a lack of studies comparing the experiences made in CEE with the experiences made in Western countries. Against this background, the sub-theme aims (a) to advance our knowledge on the structures and processes at the individual, organizational, and societal levels that are germane to participatory types of organization; (b) to draw lessons from the CEE experiences for western countries; and (c) to learn about the behavior of participatory types of organization and of individuals in such organizations in different institutional settings.
For this purpose, we are looking for both theoretical and empirical studies that focus on micro, meso or macro levels of analysis based on qualitative and/or quantitative methods. Contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- The influence of public discourse about EOCs and matters pertaining to the political legitimacy of privatization on the emergence and development of EOCs
- Traces of the ‘Illyrian Firm’ or ‘pure rental firm’ in a setting of free markets, private ownership, and political democracy
- Comparative studies on institutional conditions for EOCs in CEE countries and their outcomes with respect to the viability of EOC
- The influence of different (countries’) experiences with worker’s self-management on the viability of EOCs after privatization
- Comparative case-studies about the emergence of EOC during privatization and their development depending on institutional context, participatory culture, experiences with worker’s self-management and individual ownership rights
- Transfer of EOC & ESOP models from West to East and vice versa; adaptation of models and learning barriers between East and West
- Comparative studies about EOC as a privatization instrument in East and West
- History, development, distribution, and outcomes of ESOP in CEE
- The impact of ESOP on the viability of EOCs in CEE.
Please submit abstracts (maximum 500 words; in .doc or .pdf) by 31th January 2015 via email to: Olaf Kranz. Abstracts should contain the author(s) name(s), the institution and position as well as e-mail address. Notification of paper acceptance: 28th February 2015. Full papers (maximum 8000 words) will be expected by 10th June 2015.
For any questions, please feel free to contact Olaf Kranz at firstname.lastname@example.org