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Executive Stock Options in Germany: The Diffusion or Translation of US-Style Corporate Governance?


Equity-based pay in the form of executive shareoptions (ESOs) is a controversial part of thetypical, US-style governance package, and ESOsin Germany are the focus of this paper. Aconventional view would see ESOs as a US-styleorganizational innovation diffusingglobally in general, and to Germany inparticular.

As an alternative to innovation diffusion,however, a translation perspective wouldsuggest that the diffusion of apparentlysimilar governance devices around the worldhides the actual adoption of differentpractices.

US/German comparative case studies arepresented as an empirical contribution thatgenerally shows a pattern so far consistentwith this translation view. In addition,intriguing and contrasting results are shownfor UK/German comparisons in the sense thatactual UK ESO plans are discovered to be moredistant from the US standard than German ones.

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Buck, T., Shahrim, A. & Winter, S. Executive Stock Options in Germany: The Diffusion or Translation of US-Style Corporate Governance?. Journal of Management & Governance 8, 173–186 (2004).

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