Does Company Ownership Matter?

Does Company Ownership Matter?

The Cournot Centre series

Edited by Jean-Philippe Touffut

Do modes of management depend on company ownership? Does macroeconomic performance rely on shareholder value? The contributions collected in this book explore these questions from economic, historical and legal perspectives. They examine company ownership through the study of national institutions, with particular focus on North America and Europe. The twelve economic and legal specialists of this volume seek to explain why firms organized along the shareholder model have not outperformed other forms of ownership. Answers lie in the historical and institutional background of each country.

Chapter 5: Corporate Governance, Labour Relations and Human Resource Management in the UK and France: Convergence or Divergence?

Simon Deakin and Antoine Rebérioux

Subjects: business and management, corporate governance, economics and finance, corporate governance, industrial organisation


Simon Deakin and Antoine Rebérioux INTRODUCTION Numerous studies have examined the role that labour plays, or might play, in corporate governance (see, for example, Blair, 1995; Aoki, 2001, chapter 11). In addition, the potential of ownership structure and of corporate governance practices (alongside product market conditions) to shape employment conditions has received a lot of attention. The relationship between the stock market and the labour market have been analysed at the macroeconomic and macro-legal levels, notably through the concept of ‘institutional complementarities’ (Hall and Soskice, 2001; Ahlering and Deakin, 2007; Barker and Rueda, 2007; Black et al., 2007). The key idea is that a financial system that favours liquidity, as in the United States or the United Kingdom, may limit the possibilities for employee commitment and cooperation within enterprises, but facilitate the reorganization of corporate activities. These studies stress, at a first level of interaction, the relationship between the spheres of finance and employment. More recently, some works have explored the influence of stock markets on human resource management (HRM) practices and working conditions at the micro level (see, for example, Gospel and Pendleton, 2005; Jackson, 2005). Parallel to these developments, the comparative literature on corporate governance systems has made important progress over the last decade. The conventional distinction between an ‘outsider’ (US–UK style) model and an ‘insider’ (German, Japanese or French) model is now increasingly questioned by studies taking into account the national and international trajectories of rules regulating stock markets, listed companies and labour. For example,...

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