Could a small, employee-owned company meet its ambitious growth targets without its high-involvement culture? LightWorks Optics, in Orange County, California, made based advanced optical components for aerospace defense, aerospace and commercial applications. Early in its history Lightworks had to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, under which employees gradually equity were built in the closely held company. In 2007 gave the three founders that … Read more »

Could a small, employee-owned company meet its ambitious growth targets without its high-involvement culture? LightWorks Optics, in Orange County, California, made based advanced optical components for aerospace defense, aerospace and commercial applications. Early in its history Lightworks had to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, under which employees gradually equity were built in the closely held company. In 2007 gave the three founders that they hoped their shares to the ESOP Trust in a leveraged buyout in 2012 to sell. For this to happen, the company clearly needs to improve its sales and profitability, that in turn would imply that it will bring in more jobs, especially those that have high volume production. But had Lightworks attention on its core competencies and what they could pay, and could not do it effectively. Moreover, the company boasted of its culture of ownership in which all employees had a stake in the company and a voice in its decisions. Could the President, Dan Barber and his top management team to a consensus on how to expand production without sacrificing the advantages of a culture of ownership?
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from
Anne T. Lawrence,
Anthony I. Mathews,
Erik Noyes
Source: Babson College
17 pages.
Release Date: 12 December 2008. Prod #: BAB144-PDF-ENG
LightWorks Optics HBR case solution

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