Peter Thompson

    Email Address: pthomp1@uic.edu
    College: Business Administration Department: Managerial Studies
    Title: Clinical Associate Professor
    Office: 2225 UH M/C Phone: 9964481
    Webpage: http://www.uic.edu/~pthomp1
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    What makes employee ownership so successful?

    A mountain of evidence at the firm level confirms that employee-owned companies on average perform better than conventionally-owned companies. But, the underlying mechanism(s) have eluded researchers. Further, it is known that employee owners are more satisfied than non-owners. Yet those two findings do not prove that satisfied employee owners increase profits and productivity.

    Herein lies the scientific challenge: to prove causation one must simultaneously measure firm performance and employee satisfaction. It is also a practical challenge, because one must collect individual-level data from a multitude of firms simultaneously. This is time consuming--and expensive. A more feasible approach is to mimic employee ownership in the laboratory, something that has not been done before.

    This research study would, therefore, be cutting edge in two ways: method and subject. If the research hypotheses are supported, the results would touch upon such issues as income inequality, broader ownership of (wealth) capital, and social justice.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 4

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Minimum GPA: 2.0 Einstein was an indifferent student, but he was curious and asked lots of questions.
    60 hours or at least junior standing is preferred.
    Preferred majors: including but not limited to economics, anthropology, psychology, sociology, education, urban and public affairs, managerial studies, IDS, finance, accounting, entrepreneurship, criminology law & justice.
    Courses in statistics and research design are a plus, but not a requirement.
    If the applicant has research experience, so much the better.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Intellectual curiosity.
    Main tasks are clerical e.g., keeping records and assisting with the laboratory experience. (Participants will be fashioning origami figures--the job will be to count them and judge their quality.)
    I am willing to share all I know about employee ownership and research design, and expect that I will learn from the student. I am always learning!

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