Management: We're All the Boss

Giving workers stock helps a firm only if it also gives them a say in how the place is run

When a machine operator left W.L. Gore last year, the human-resources department naturally began looking for a replacement. Then before anyone got as far as posting a want ad, the man's former team members met and figured out how they could make do with one less body. They would have to work harder without more pay, but they wanted to do what was best for the enterprise. "That doesn't happen at other companies," says human-resources associate Sonia Dunbar, 43. "It's the beauty of Gore."

The cooperative spirit at this company--maker of the Gore-Tex waterproof fabric found in all sorts of outdoor...

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