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Rutgers Awards Fellowships to Study Corporations and the U.S. Economy
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – As politicians and business leaders continue to debate the best way to expand the economy, Rutgers University is bringing together top scholars to discuss one of the most persistent and important, but often ignored, trends in contemporary market economies: the role employees can play in promoting competitiveness in the corporate sector and how they can participate in the rewards of doing so.
The School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) at Rutgers, a leader in this emerging arena, has appointed 23 research fellows to study employee stock ownership and profit-sharing in the evolving structure of the corporation and the future of American business.
SMLR dean Susan Schurman said the goal of the program is to build a new generation of scholars to study workplace issues and focus on how employees at all levels can share in the benefits of company success by considering the relevance of equity and profit sharing.
The idea has been widely disseminated in small businesses through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and in large public corporations, especially high-tech companies such as Google, through a variety of broad-based equity plans. More than 17 percent of American workers own some share in the companies where they work, about 9 percent hold company stock options and about a third have some form of profit sharing, according to a recent Rutgers analysis of the General Social Survey of employed adults nationwide.
“Broad-based employee ownership and profit sharing are generally associated with better firm performance and individual commitment at work,” says fellowship program director Joseph R. Blasi, a sociologist and the J. Robert Beyster Professor at SMLR.
With assets of more than $400,000, the fellowship program is one of the largest at Rutgers. Fundraising for fellowships is one of the top priorities in Our Rutgers, Our Future, the university’s historic $1 billion campaign.
By bringing together economists, finance experts, human resources scholars, lawyers, industrial relations scholars, sociologists, philosophers, political scientists, historians, psychologists, anthropologists, policy experts and others we hope to come up with new interdisciplinary insights on corporations and the responsible roles that workers can play in the business community,” Schurman said.
Professor Blasi directs the program as the J. Robert Beyster Professor. Douglas L. Kruse, an economist and a J. Robert Beyster Faculty Fellow at SMLR, who has led some of the seminal econometric studies on employee stock ownership and professor Richard Freeman of the Department of Economics at Harvard University serve as faculty mentors to the growing cluster of fellows joined by a wide group other senior scholars also serving as mentors.
The program was established with a major endowment for the Beyster Professorship and Fellowships by a series of gifts from J. Robert Beyster and Mary Ann Beyster of the Foundation for Enterprise Development and subsequent contributions from the Employee Ownership Foundation along with a small group of other foundations and individuals. The program hosts two annual national conferences for the entire assembly of fellows, a summer Beyster Symposium, and a Mid-year Fellows Workshop, supported by investment banker John Menke of Menke and Associates, to bring the researchers together to present their work and develop a collaborative community of scholars. Its goal is to encourage intellectual cooperation and build a cross-generational and interdisciplinary network of researchers working on these issues.
For a list of all current and previous fellows, visit http://smlr.rutgers.edu/research-and-centers/fellowship-programs.
ABOUT RUTGERS’ SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT AND LABOR RELATIONS
Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations is the leading source of expertise on the world of work, building effective and sustainable organizations, and the changing employment relationship. The school is comprised of two departments—one focused on all aspects of strategic human resource management and the other dedicated to the social science specialties related to labor studies and employment relations. In addition, SMLR provides many continuing education and certificate programs taught by world-class researchers and expert practitioners. For more information, visit http://smlr.rutgers.edu.
Media Contact: Steve Manas
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