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The system itself has become self-defeating and unstable even in its own terms of pursuit of shareholder value. Malpractice sets the scene for a race to the bottom. It is against this backcloth that the John Lewis case merits another close look.

A Better Way of Doing Business? Lessons from the John Lewis Partnership - Open Research Online

Waitrose supermarkets and the John Lewis Department Stores. It has features which offer alternatives to the current conventional model. It has shown itself to be sustainable over the long term. It offers better than average employment to more than 90, people.

Graeme Salaman and John Storey

In place of the short-termism demanded by shareholder capitalism it can afford to take a longer-term view as it is employee-owned and uses its own resources and borrowing for investment purposes. It has a written constitution which sets boundaries and rules.

There are additional features also. It has a strong ethical base as originally set-out by its founder in the s and whose legacy of principles is regularly revisited and refreshed. It retains, and invests in, a strong democratic infrastructure with partner employee representation at all levels of the business — from shop floor to boardroom. And in so many ways the John Lewis Partnership can indeed be shown to be successful.

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

So, is this the alternative model others should follow? If so, how can they emulate it? Everyday enactment of the underlying principles is not straightforward. There were times when the model did not deliver in the way it has over the past couple of decades. The model does not automatically deliver the goods.

The fascinating heart of the story is how managers and partners jointly steer a path which balances a number of key dilemmas. The elements of JLP as described above are all ongoing features of the way the Partnership operates. What was of special interest to us as we engaged with this organisation over a long period, first as advisors and then as independent researchers, was how these principles were translated and acted upon when confronting challenges of a day to day operational nature, and challenges of a strategic-choice nature. Operational challenges included detailed matters such as how to respond to customer complaints, how to handle relationships with suppliers, how to handle employee issues of a disciplinary nature and how to handle redundancy.

What is the link between co-ownership, the JLP employment model, and the performance of the businesses?

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What is the role of management in the success of John Lewis and Waitrose? Are mutuality, co-ownership and business performance at odds?

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What is the significance of democracy within the JLP? And probably most significantly: This book is based on detailed knowledge of the JLP and its constituent business gathered by the authors over a fifteen year period. The Big Picture 2. Lessons from Employee-owned Businesses 4. The Way the Business was Managed: The Way the Business Was Managed: Reflections on Managers and Managing in the Partnership 7. Governance, Democracy and Accountability 8. His areas of teaching, writing researching and consulting are: He is an active consultant, speaker and trainer and has written over sixty books and articles including Managerial Dilemmas: He has authored more than 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. The single-minded pursuit of shareholder value courts a tolerance of malpractice which sets the scene for a race to the bottom.

At the heart of the system is the model of the modern corporation. In many ways, it now seems unfit for purpose in the context of the global economy. The John Lewis Partnership is illustrative of an alternative approach.