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Gainsharing and Power Lessons from Six Scanlon Plans by Denis Collins

Gainsharing and Power Lessons from Six Scanlon Plans


Gainsharing and Power Lessons from Six Scanlon Plans by Denis Collins

Denis Collins believes that participatory management systems are inevitable in democratic societies because they are ethically superior to authoritarian management systems. Managers must begin to share decision making and economic outcomes with their employees if they want to obtain long-term efficiency and effectiveness in a competitive business environment. Changes in power relationships are bound to occur in the transitional period, Collins reports, and will challenge the flexibility of management.Scanlon Plans were developed in the 1930s as a way to link improvements in productivity to employee wages. Popular because of the large amount of employee involvement in their design, Scanlon Plans are in place at 260 Fortune 1000 companies, as well as many smaller firms. To understand the considerable variation in the success of gainsharing plans and participatory management more generally, Collins studied six companies that used Scanlon Programs, explaining the nuts and bolts of each plan. He addresses the concerns of workers, managers, and unions when they were present, highlighting political games employees must address to enhance success. Collins then offers a new theory of gainsharing based on conflicts of interest at work.


This is an excellent book. It provides an interesting alternative framework for examining gainsharing and gives comprehensive data on the history, workings, and evaluation of six cases with varying characteristics. Rather than simply reporting on the cases and summarizing them, Collins has raised the discussion to the level of empirical generalization and brought the data to bear on his four hypotheses. His work offers far better data for understanding gainsharing than most other material available in this field. -Robert N. Stern, coeditor of Debating Rationality: Nonrational Aspects of Organizational Decision Making Gainsharing and Power encourages a consideration of some of the underlying value dimensions which are sadly missing in our national discourse concerning working life in America. A refreshing book, valuable to both the practitioner and the advanced Human Resources student. -Steven E. Markham, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

19th March 1998


Denis Collins

More books by Denis Collins
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ILR Press an imprint of Cornell University Press


272 pages


Ownership & organization of enterprises
Industrial relations
Business ethics & social responsibility



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