Employee ownership heterogeneity and firm performance in China

Ting REN*, Youzhi XIAO, Hongyan YANG, Shiyao LIU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Employee ownership (EO) has gained increasingly significant attention from both business practitioners and policy makers in China. Through the examination of the implementation of EO by China's listed firms from 1992 to 2017 with a total of 3,396 firms and 36,559 firm‐year observations, we explored the relationship between EO implementation and firm performance. In general, we found that over time, EO firms outperform non‐EO firms in China, and the influence of EO is only different in nuanced aspect in different time periods according to the change of policies. The data from the most recent period, that is, 2014–2017, indicate that EO adopters have higher performance than matched non‐EO firms both before and after adoption, but the relative performance does not increase after adoption. We further examined the interactive effect between EO and executive stock ownership (ESO) schemes and found that the adoption of ESO weakens the positive relationship between EO and firm performance. Regarding different types of EO, we found lower performance in companies with high return rights but no control rights, and we found better performance when high return rights are combined with control rights. We suggested policy and managerial implications on the basis of the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-639
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number6
Early online date5 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • employee ownership
  • executive stock ownership
  • firm performance


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