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Involuntary Employee Shareholding: A Study of Employee and Management Experiences at Royal Mail

Ciachir, Constantin (2017) Involuntary Employee Shareholding: A Study of Employee and Management Experiences at Royal Mail. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Although a significant body of literature on Employee Share Ownership (ESO) has been generated in the last 40 years, managers’ and employees’ experiences of shareholding have received little empirical attention. This thesis responds to this gap by presenting evidence collected through in-depth interviews with a sample of Royal Mail managers and employees about their involuntary shareholding resulting from the privatisation of the organisation. Taking an inductive thematic discursive approach, I identify key discourses illustrating employees’ experiences of involuntary shareholding, contributing to our understanding of how ESO schemes are experienced by managers and employees. I emphasise the importance of the social and organisational context in which shareholding takes place and its influence on the meaning that individuals assign to their shareholding. This thesis highlights the importance of discourse creation and circulation and its reproduction by different social groups within the organisation, which is in turn influenced by more powerful actors. The three main discourses identified are: a transformation discourse, the John Lewis discourse, and a risky business discourse. A subsequent aim of the thesis was to address the more recent plea for theoretical development in this area, thus, drawing upon theories of gift giving, I offer interpretations of employees’ accounts of their involuntary shareholding (gifted shares), identifying three main important social functions fulfilled by the free shares: an exchange trigger, a ‘perverse’ incentive, and a way of projecting a new identity. Viewing involuntary shareholding as a gift and an incentive has its limitations; I also offer a critique of this approach drawing from employment relations and sociology of work concepts. The findings of this thesis are of importance for practitioners, academic researchers as well as policy makers seeking to understand how employees experience, articulate and make sense of their involuntary shareholding and the underlying dynamics of ESO as a management discourse. 

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: Mr Constantin Ciachir
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2018 09:26
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2018 09:26
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20313

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