Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring Stewardship Characteristics in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Employee-Owned Companies
by Van Doel, Richard M., Ph.D., Indiana Wesleyan University, 2017, 437; 10286641
Abstract (Summary)

This study sought to explore stewardship characteristics within employee-owned companies in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry. For the purpose of this study, stewardship characteristics were defined as the psychological (i.e., intrinsic motivation, organizational identification, use of power) and situational (i.e., collectivism, involvement orientation, and power distance) mechanisms that promote pro-organizational collectivist behaviors within the employee–owners of employee-owned companies organized as Employee Stock Ownership Programs (ESOPs). ESOPs have grown in popularity as a method of transitioning ownership to the firms’ employees since ESOPs were codified by Public Law 93–406 in 1974. There are approximately 7,000 employee-owned firms organized as ESOPs operating in the United States, and these qualified retirement plans cover over 13.5 million participants with total assets exceeding 940 billion dollars. The transition of employees to employee–owners presents a unique governance situation where the employee–owners may simultaneously fulfill the roles of owner, principal, and agent. Stewardship characteristics were measured using a mixed-method approach. The Stewardship Climate Scale quantitatively measured the level of stewardship, and semi-structured interviews helped gain meaning or understanding of stewardship by the ESOP senior leaders.

At an organizational level, the study found a variation in the level of stewardship among the participating ESOPs. However, each ESOP did demonstrate stewardship characteristics, and there was no significant difference in the aggregate of stewardship climate for the ESOPs participating in the study when grouped by revenue per employee. At the individual level, where positional and nonpositional leaders were grouped together, the study found variation between the two groups. However, there was no significant difference in the aggregate of stewardship climate or any of the six constructs of stewardship between the positional and nonpositional leaders. Lastly, the study found a significant relationship between stewardship characteristics and firm productivity. A significant regression equation was calculated for the aggregate of stewardship climate, the psychological mechanisms, and the individual constructs of organizational identification, intrinsic motivation, and involvement orientation. A moderated multiple regression was calculated which identified the relationship between organizational identification and revenue per employee was moderated by the level of involvement orientation.

Based on the quantitative and qualitative data, the ESOPs participating in the study did demonstrate stewardship characteristics with no significant difference within the positional and nonpositional employee–owners. Revenue per employee was significantly influenced by stewardship.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Howell, George
Commitee: Beuthin, Timothy, Wilkinson, Gary
School: Indiana Wesleyan University
Department: Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management
Keywords: Employee stock ownership plan, Employee-owned companies, Governance, Leadership, Stewardship
Publication Number: 10286641
ISBN: 978-1-369-82264-9
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