Regulatory authorities, politicians and trade unions across Europe have recently accused private equity institutions of improving the performance of buy-outs merely by reducing employment costs with negative implications for jobs, working conditions and training investments. These claims are assessed by analysing high commitment management practices and changes in these practices in private-equity backed and non-private equity backed buy-outs in the UK and the Netherlands using a large-scale representative sample that combines both questionnaire and archival data. We find that both private equity backed buy-outs compared to non-private equity backed buy-outs, and Dutch buy-outs compared to UK buy-outs, are less likely to report introducing new high commitment management practices but do not on average reduce high commitment management practices. The findings suggest private equity backed buy-outs represent only a limited adaptation of the European social model.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Human Relations
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Bacon, N., Wright, M., Demina, N., Bruining, H., & Boselie, P. (2008). The effects of private equity and buy-outs on HRM in the UK and the Netherlands. Human Relations, 61(10), 1399–1433. doi:10.1177/0018726708095709