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

ISBN : 9780198782827

Graeme Salaman; John Storey
256 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Aug 2016
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This book offers a thoroughly researched and accessibly written account of the John Lewis Partnership. 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 organizations 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.


1 The Big Picture
2 An Introductory Profile of the John Lewis Partnership
3 Lessons from Employee-owned Businesses
4 The Way the Business was Managed: 1990-2009
5 The Way the Business Was Managed: 2010-2015
6 Reflections on Managers and Managing in the Partnership
7 Governance, Democracy and Accountability
8 Conclusions

About the author: 

Graeme Salaman in Emeritus Professor of Organisation Studies at The Open University. His areas of teaching, writing researching and consulting are: the management of innovation, the management of change, management competences, strategic human resource management, performance management, knowledge management, innovation and leadership. He is an active consultant, speaker and trainer and has written over sixty books and articles including Managerial Dilemmas: Exploiting Paradox for Strategic Leadership (with John Storey), Wiley, 2009; Managers of Innovation: Insights into Making Innovation Happen, (with John Storey) Blackwell, 2004; Strategy and Capability, Blackwell, 2003 ; John Storey is Professor of Management at The Open University, UK. He has authored more than 100 books and refereed articles. These range across human resource management, organisational analysis, leadership, innovation and supply chain management. He is a Fellow of the British Academy of Management. He was formerly professor and head of research at the University of Loughborough and before that was Principal Research Fellow at the University of Warwick Business School. He was Chairman of the Involvement & Participation Association (IPA) from 2008 to 2013 and a member of the government advisory panel on leadership and management.

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