Curriculum Library on Employee Ownership (CLEO)

The Internet Home for Teaching about Employee Ownership

Source: The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program
Year: 2009

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CLEO, the Curriculum Library on Employee Ownership, is an online repository of teaching and background materials on employee ownership. To view the collection, use the navigation menu at right or start your search here.

The Importance of Employee Ownership for Business
For many companies employee stock-ownership plans can be a viable and rewarding strategy for sharing equity and profits with employees. According to the 2006 General Social Survey, between one third and one half of all employees participate directly in company performance through various combinations of employee ownership, stock options, profit sharing and gainsharing. Among the hundreds of highly successful public companies with some form of employee ownership are Apple, Google, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and Starbucks. Employee-owned companies also feature prominently on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.

Employee ownership represents a powerful tool for managers to align company and employee incentives, improve company-wide performance, and show appreciation to employees.

Employee ownership first generated attention among business academics when the phenomenon came to prominence in the 1970s. Since then, many case studies and numerous research studies have demonstrated the conditions under which employee ownership can work more and less effectively. Employee ownership offers an interesting perspective into “the theory of the firm" and the ongoing debate over stakeholder and shareholder participation and responsibility.

Employee Ownership in Business Education
Historically, employee ownership has been explored most extensively in accounting and entrepreneurship courses. However, the positive outcomes generated by the creation of “ownership cultures" at many companies offer lessons for other disciplines as well. For more on the seminal work in this area, please see the employee ownership bibliography summary and review the reading collection.

Using this Resource
Have questions regarding how to use CLEO? Please visit the Help with CLEO link located in the gray navigation menu in the right column of this page. In the "Help" document you will find two PDF resources:
1) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for CLEO; and
2) the Guide to CLEO.

For more on ways to use CLEO in a classroom setting, please see Professor Joseph R. Blasi's CLEO testimonial. In it, Professor Blasi details how he utilizes CLEO and what materials he finds especially useful for teaching employee ownership. Finally, if you still have questions, please contact Trisha King.

We would like to acknowledge the financial support and guidance of the Foundation for Enterprise Development ( and Employee Ownership Foundation (

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