Professor James Hayton's response to 'the John Lewis Society'


Professor James Hayton, PhD, David Goldman Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University Business Schoool and Director of KITE comments on the coalition announcements on employee ownership 2012:

“Like John Lewis’ strap line, employee ownership really is a gift the coalition can’t wait to give, but to prevent this being an unwanted present we need to look at previous examples to ensure the better practice of capitalism.

“I believe this is unlikely to be the decade of employee ownership. However, we might be entering the decade of populist and half-baked business regulation. The coalition and the opposition should beware of undermining competitiveness for the sake of newspaper headlines.

“Both the coalition and the opposition are busying themselves looking for ways to humanize capitalism and to be seen as mitigating its greatest excesses. This is obviously motivated by the need to be seen by the general public as taking action in the face of persistent bankers bonuses and ever-increasing executive compensation. Most recently Nick Clegg has proposed that we need to have a “John Lewis economy” in which employees have the right to request shares from their employers, and tax relief should support this objective.

“The benefits cited by Mr Clegg are gains in employee commitment, satisfaction, and productivity as well as lower employee turnover. However, when we look back at decades of careful research we can say that there are lots of “ifs” and “buts” when it comes to the effects of employee stock ownership.

“Issues like whether the value of shares actually increase, company size, employer trust, HR strategy and how private companies could offer such incentives need to be addressed.”

Professor James Hayton is an international leader within his field of expertise seeing him as the;
• Executive Editor of the journal Human Resource Management,
• an Editor at Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice,
• and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Management Studies, Human Resource Management Review, and the Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management.
• He also was a key note speaker at The World Human Resources Development Congress, held in Mumbai,  February 2011

For a further interview with Professor Hayton, please call Abby Randall or Laura Foster on 0191 208 1630 / 07500 872573.

published on: 24th January 2012