MBC Ventures, Inc.: An Employee Stock Ownership Plan With A Union Partner

Richard C. Hoffman, M. O. Brown, Jr and Frank Schipper

MBC Ventures, Inc. is a 161 year-old company that is going through both product and 

organizational transitions. It has left one of its traditional product lines, paint brushes, behind and 

has developed a new one, solar panels. The organization has gone from being part of a large 

diversified conglomerate to a small employee-owned company with two distinct product lines. The 

second product line, solar panels, has been added only recently. The organization has gone from 

being a product unit within a hierarchically-oriented, large diversified conglomerate to an 

independent, team-oriented, egalitarian organization. The conglomerate was a publically traded 

organization; whereas, MBC Ventures is employee owned. The transition to employee ownership 

would not have been possible without the cooperation and financial assistance of the United 

Steelworkers union. These transitions that have occurred since 1990 have not been without 

problems including two major recessions. Currently, the company is doing quite well. This case 

discusses how the firm has implemented employee ownership and participatory management, and 

its decision to diversify into a new growth product line. Some financial results are provided. 

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