The primary aim is to establish the White Rose universities as the leading centre for employee ownership research in the UK. Employee ownership has been a persistently vibrant area of scholarship over many years in the social sciences in the UK, USA, and beyond. Some of the most respected UK scholars in this area are located in various disciplines across the White Rose universities, but so far have worked mainly independently of each other. A key objective is to encourage closer collaboration between these scholars (across locations and disciplines). This collaboration will help to define new research agendas, promote innovative cross-disciplinary research projects, and facilitate funding applications.
The rationale for creating this Centre at this time rests on several contextual factors. A general backdrop is the continuing economic crisis and widespread interest in alternative forms of ownership and organisation. More specific factors include the widespread adoption of employee ownership in the current UK privatisation of public services, the increase in private sector employee ownership, and the Government’s policy of encouraging conversions to employee ownership. The Government recently announced its intention of creating a National Institute of Employee Ownership to inter alia conduct research into this form of ownership.
The proposed activities centre on bringing together academic specialists on employee ownership from a variety of disciplines, involving collaboration with policy-makers, practitioners from companies, and professional services personnel. This will facilitate the development of university-industry research clusters, innovative research agendas, and project teams for funding applications. The activities are
– Inception event. Meeting of @25 key academics from Leeds, Sheffield, and York along with external practitioners and specialists to review existing knowledge and formulate research agendas. February 2013, York.
– First screening in England of film ‘We are the Owners’, made by Beyster Foundation, California. Open to public. March 2013, York.
– Network event. Half-day academic workshop on topic of Leeds colleagues’ choice, with some practitioner invitees. @ 25 participants. May 2013, Leeds
– National conference: Theory and Practice of Employee Ownership, aimed at academics and practitioners over 1.5 days. Will involve innovative workshops aimed at integrating academic and practitioner perspectives on key issues. Target audience of @100. September 2013, Leeds or York
– Network event. Half-day academic workshop on topic of Sheffield colleagues’ choice, with some practitioner invitees. @ 25 participants. November 2013, Sheffield
– Publication of Employee Ownership in Yorkshire. Research into the scale and form of employee ownership in Yorkshire region, drawing on research expertise of the three centres, with publication on-line and in a pamphlet. This will be aimed at a wide audience including local and national policy-makers, employee ownership professionals, companies and organisations, trade unions, and the media.
– White Rose Papers in Employee Ownership. Creation of a branded on-line working paper series within the White Rose repository for dissemination of early research findings.
– White Rose Centre web page. Creation of web portal, hosted on the York web-site with links to each of the partners.