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Resources on Participation

What do employees at your company think about ownership? Ask them

Make Your Own Zone Chart: The Frontiers and Boundaries Handbook

Index of Articles on Ownership Culture


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Participation: Ownership and Decision Making

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Ownership and Decision Making


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Ownership Responsibilities

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Ownership is a powerful idea rooted deeply in our history and in the foundations of our economy. For better and for worse, it is an idea that evokes powerful emotions and high expectations.

In fact, in legal terms employees rarely have the decision-making rights they naturally expect from ownership. Writing in the Psychological Record, F.W. Rudmin and J.W. Berry conclude that "culturally and behaviorally grounded conceptions of ownership may not coincide with explicitly legalistic conceptions." [1]

The "living definitions" in people's minds, not legal definitions, directly affect their perceptions of employee-ownership, their motivation, and their enthusiasm. This psychological aspect of ownership is the source of employee-ownership's potential power, but it also creates vulnerability.

[1] Rudmin, F.W. and J.W. Berry. 1987. "Semantics of Ownership: A Free-Recall Study of Property," The Psychological Record, Vol. 37, p. 257.


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