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Do partnerships like John Lewis represent a better way of doing modern business?

Updated Friday, 10th February 2017

Professor John Storey investigates in his new book whether partnerships like John Lewis represent a better way of doing modern business?

This book offers a thoroughly researched and accessibly written account of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP).

It describes what the JLP is, how it works, and what other businesses can learn from it. The US/UK model of the firm, with its emphasis on shareholder value and its openness to the market in the buying and selling of businesses, is prone to a number of problematic consequences for employees, suppliers, and sometimes share-holders. The JLP represents a contrast to this model - one that has implications beyond the small niche of mutually-owned firms. The JLP has lessons for organisations that are unlikely to move towards the Partnership's distinctive shared ownership. This book identifies these lessons.

The key questions addressed include: how does the JLP work in practice? What is the link between co-ownership, the JLP employment model, and the performance of the businesses? What is the role of management in the success of John Lewis and Waitrose? Are mutuality, co-ownership and business performance at odds? What is the significance of democracy within the JLP? And probably most significantly: what are the implications, for policy-makers and for economic agents of the JLP? This book is based on detailed knowledge of the JLP and its constituent business gathered by the authors over a fifteen year period.

Their conclusion: that the JLP is more complex, even more impressive, and more interesting than its admirers realise.

Read about the book: Salaman, Graeme and Storey, John (2016). A Better Way of Doing Business? Lessons from the John Lewis Partnership. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

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