A Better Way of Doing Business? Lessons from the John Lewis Partnership

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

URL: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/a-better-w...

Abstract

The crisis in the modern business corporation has been explored by an increasing number of commentators. Even the chief economist of the Bank of England has expressed his concerns.

There have been calls for a different model - mainly based on a wider set of stakeholders. The John Lewis Partnership is one such alternative. It is an extraordinary organization. It is extraordinary in terms of its distinctive features, its longevity, its size (over 90,000 staff) its continuing success, its popularity with staff, customers and the wider public. It enjoys increasing appeal to politicians and management-writers for whom it represents a much-lauded admirable moral alternative to the conventional form of business organization. The key questions include: how does 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: is it feasible for businesses in the public or private sector to replicate or emulate the JLP model?

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