Contesting Ownership: Employee-Ownership, Staff Participation in the English Care Sector

This article investigates how care workers understood ownership and experienced employee-ownership through the exercise of workplace participation and control. To date much of the scholarly work has focused on formal governance arrangements, types of participation and the limitations of worker control, in particular debating the validity of the degeneration thesis. Furthermore, studies tend to be concentrated on small-scale cooperatives or specific marginal examples, but employee-owned enterprises have also been introduced in other sectors, including in English health, social care and well-being sectors. By drawing on two case studies providing care services, this study brings new insights by centring on how staff understood, embraced, and subsequently contested the foundational concept of ownership. The subsequent implications for intraorganisational conflict and the lived experience of staff are explored within a theoretical framework based on (1) how different social science disciplines embrace the concept of ownership, (2) workplace participation within employee-owned entities and (3) the unique characteristics of care services. The paper’s originality lies in combining new empirical data in the context of these three areas. This contribution enhances our understanding of how employees interpret being “an owner”, as well as informing scholarly and public-policy debates about the future models for care provision.

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Aaron Lee Gain, Ödül Bozkurt (2023). Contesting Ownership: Employee-Ownership, Staff Participation in the English Care Sector, Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 12(1): 90-117. DOI: