Letter: A real share

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DAVID BOWEN'S article regarding methods of increasing employee involvement in a company is correct ("The best stake is rather rare", 21 January). I have just returned from 30 years in the US, the last seven as president of an Esop (Employee Share Ownership Plan) company. Research there has shown that ownership of shares by employees does not improve a company's performance unlesscombined with a participative management style. I confirm this from my own experience.

A caveat. All levels of management must be committed to doing business in a participative way. Employees quickly sniff out autocrats in disguise.

I am not optimistic that any political party here could claim the high ground on the question of stakeholding. It may be better to improve the tax incentives for businesses and let them get on with doing what they do best.

M V Bailey

Colyton, Devon