Property Rights

The values in an organization’s culture reflect the ethics of individuals in the organization, of professional groups, and of the society in which the organization exists.the values in an organization’s culture also stem from how the organization distributes property rights—the rights that an organization gives to its members to receive and use organizational resources. Property rights define the rights and responsibilities of each inside stakeholder group and cause the development of different norms, values, and attitudes toward the organization.

Shareholders have the strongest property rights of all stakeholder groups because they own the resources of the company and share in its profits. Top managers often have strong property rights because they are given large amounts of organizational resources, such as high salaries, the rights to large stock options, or golden parachutes, which guarantee them large sums of money if they are fired when their company is taken over. Top managers’ rights to use organizational resources are reflected in their authority to make decisions and control organizational resources. Managers are usually given strong rights because if they do not share in the value that the organization creates, they are unlikely to be motivated to work hard on behalf of the organization and its stakeholders.

An organization’s workforce may be given strong property rights, such as guarantee of lifetime employment and involvement in an employee stock-ownership plan (ESOP) or in a profit-sharing plan. Most workers, however, are not given very strong property rights. Few are given lifetime employment or involved in ESOPs, though they may be guaranteed long-term employment or be eligible for bonuses. Often workers’ property rights are simply the wages they earn and the health and pension benefits they receive. Workers’ rights to use organizational resources are reflected in their responsibilities in the level of control they have over their tasks.

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