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Friday, April 1, 2011

SU's Adams Receives Prestigious Smiley Fellowship

SALISBURY, MD---Before pursuing an academic career, Dr. Stephen Adams of Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business made his living as a financial valuation analyst.

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While researching and valuing closely-held stock, he became especially interested in companies in which employees had an ownership stake. Now, he is examining the phenomenon of employee ownership more closely thanks in part to a $10,000 Robert W. Smiley Jr. Economic History Fellowship presented by the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations.

With Dr. Frank Shipper, chair of SU’s Management and Marketing Department, and colleagues Charles and Karen Manz, Adams researched Michigan-based Herman Miller, a furniture company that began an employee stock ownership plan in the 1980s. In 2007, the group visited the company’s Zeeland headquarters and interviewed company executives and employees, and then based a series of publications on findings from that visit.

With the fellowship, Adams hopes to follow up on that initial visit by sifting through the company’s archives to get a better idea of the evolution of the corporate culture and policies that has made it such a success.

“Employee ownership is considered best established at the inception of companies,” Adams said. “My scholarship will delve into what style of corporate culture and policies already in place could successfully facilitate a gain-sharing system for a more mature firm.”

Adams will present his findings at a Rutgers Fellows workshop in December. In addition, he will use a portion of his fellowship to attend the Foundation for Enterprise Development’s 2011 Beyster Fellowship Symposium, in La Jolla, CA, in June.

Beyond this research, Adams is currently working on a book about the development of Silicon Valley, where employees have garnered a piece of the action through stock options since the 1960s.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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