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2015/2016  KAN-CCMVV1394U  Workplace democracy and financial participation

English Title
Workplace democracy and financial participation

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Niels Mygind - Department of International Economics and Management (INT)
Kontaktinformation: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt eller Contact information: https:/​/​e-campus.dk/​studium/​kontakt
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • Human resource management
  • Economics
Last updated on 19-10-2015
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: Learning objectives:
  • Know different ways of involving broader groups of employees in the ownership rights of: 1) control, and the financial rights of 2) share of profits, 3) share of capital gains
  • Understand how democratic forms of management can be developed with or without direct ownership rights
  • Be aware of different instruments of employee ownership rights to motivate, bond, improve cooperation between employees - employee financial participation as part of a firms HRM policies
  • Understand possible problems in relation to employee participation in different types of organizations
  • Understand the context dependence, that is, drivers and barriers for different forms of employee participation both in relation to financial aspects and organizational challenges
  • Understand different theories applied to employee financial participation - both economic models, behavioral - and organizational theories
  • Get an interdisciplinary understanding of workplace democracy
  • Knowledge about different forms of employees financial participation - at different points in time and geography
Workplace democracy and financial participation:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 4 students in the group
Oral exam based on mini-projects produced in teams of 2-4 students
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

At the oral exam the team starts with a short presentation followed by discussion and questions directed to individuals in the team. The individual grading of the course will be based both on specialist knowledge (as shown in the project and in the oral exam) and on general knowledge of the field (as shown in the oral exam) – see the learning objectives of the course.

Course content and structure


The course is multidisciplinary. The theme lies in the crossroad of economic theory, corporate governance and organizational sociology and includes also psychological and HRM aspects. Workplace democracy is a recurrent theme in the political debate and related to the motivation and empowerment of the employees. What happens when employees own their own company or when they have parts of the rights connected to ownership? Why are there so few majority employee owned companies in Scandinavia while they are much more widespread in US, Italy, France and Spain. We look both at the different theories and at the practical implementation of different models of workplace democratization and different degrees of employee’s financial participation.


• Corporate Governance, theory of ownership – ownership rights, stakeholder theory
• the economic theory of the labor-managed firm
• theories about participation and motivation
• theory about different types of organizations and implementation
• Drivers and barriers for employee ownership

Different model of employee participation around the world:
• The US ESOPs (with 10-15 mill employees!)
• The Mondragon worker cooperatives in Spain
• Worker coops in Italy, France, and …
• Employee ownership in transition countries
• The discussion on Economic Democracy and wage-earner-funds in Denmark and Sweden
• Self-management in former Yugoslavia
• Participation in only some of the ownership rights – profit sharing schemes, codetermination/Industrial democracy  – employee participation in boards – Germany, Scandinavia

Different stages in the majority employee owned company
• Establishing process 
• Employee attitudes toward starting/going into an employee owned company
• Organization of employee involvement in decision making
• Problems of finance and exit/entry of new employee owners


Teaching methods
Teaching Methods – lectures, class discussions, cases, student presentations, team work with mini-projects.
Expected literature


Blair, M. (1995), Ownership and control: rethinking corporate governance for the twenty-first century, Washington D.C: Brookings Institution.

Blasi, J., Kruse, D., Sesil, J. and Kroumova, M. (2003), "An assessment of employee ownership in the United States with implications for the EU," The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 14, 893-919.

Dow, G.K. (2003), Governing the Firm: Workers’ Control in Theory and Practice, West Nyack, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Hansmann, H. (1996), The Ownership of Enterprise, Cambridge, MA.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Malleson T.  (2014) What does Mondragon Teach us about Workplace Democracy?  Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms,  vol.:14 s.:127 -157

Malleson T.  (2014) After Occupy: Economic Democracy for the 21st century, Oxford University Press http://www.google.dk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2Sf-AgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP9&ots=hdkfiHG_1P&sig=2dLloGrgE85MwiLE53Im1s5GwUY&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Mygind, N. (1992), The choice of ownership, Journal of economic and industrial democracy, Vol. 13. no. 3, pp. 359-399.

Mygind, N. (2001), Economic Performance of Employee-owned Enterprises – Theory and Some Evidence from the Baltic Countries, in Inussuk, Arctic Research Journal, no 1, 2001, pp 63-109

Mygind, N. (2009) Stakeholder ownership and maximization. Corporate Governance - The International Journal of Business in Society, Vol. 9, Nr. 2, pp. 158-174.

Mygind, N. (2012), ‘Trends in employee ownership in Eastern Europe’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23, 1611-1642.

Putterman, L. (1988), ‘The firm as association versus the firm as commodity: Efficiency, rights, and ownership’, Economics and Philosophy , 4, 2, 243-266.

Lowitzsch J. and I. Hashi (2014), The Promotion of Employee Ownership and Participation , European Commission,  http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/company/modern/index_en.htm


Last updated on 19-10-2015