Cooperation and Productivity ; Some evidence from West German Experience
Somewhere between traditional entrepreneurial firms and worker-cooperatives on the spectrum of alternative firm types lie a range of industrial partnership models, involving varying degrees of worker participation in decision-making and/or profit-sharing. In West Germany there are known to be more than seven hundred firms in this category. Many belong to Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Forderung der Partnerschaft in der Wirtschaft e.v. (AGP) headed by Michael Lezius. Guski and Schneider have recently published a register of these firms in collaboration with Lezius. Their analysis reveals a variety of legal configurations heavily influenced by tax and company law. The size of employee profit and stock shares also varies greatly, most being relatively small. About half the firms in the sample have instituted some form of employee participation in what is normally regarded as managerial decision making. The schemes introduced by AGP members range from employee control in a few worker-managed co-operatives among the many small firms to minimal consultative and informative practice in the more sparsely represented larger firms.
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