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phil186-ethics-of-Downsizing_Final-essay - Reducing the...

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Reducing the Effects of Downsizing Downsizing is a common business practice that has a negative connotation. There are a few reasons why that is the case. First, the employes who fall victims to this form of mass layoff face dire consequences that leads to many psychological effects as John Orlando has mentioned in “The Ethics of Corporate Downsizing”. Second, as pointed out by Orlando, employees gener- ally experience a decline in earnings and ruin communities. Is this sufficient to conclude that downsizing is unethical? Perhaps, we can look at the reasons for downsizing in order to better understand the nature and circumstances when it can be justifiable. Although I agree with Or- lando’s position that downsizing is morally wrong, there is one scenario that justifies corporate downsizing; the organization has to make a commitment to help former employees who have lost their jobs and to remain competitive for the future. The author points to many statistical findings that suggest downsizing is harmful to those who lose their jobs. These statistics mention that attempted suicides, employees losing their homes, and putting communities into ruins as a result of being downsized. As convincing as that sounds, the author fails to mention whether corporations who downsize did anything to help their former employees transition to another job. Did they help them find another job or give them training and counseling to lessen the blow of losing their job? It seems to me when a corporation decides to downsize after debating on the pros and cons, they should behave morally and do the right thing, which is to help their former employees to get a job and be able to become product- ive citizens again. In one perspective, this act of kindness may be too generous and may be an in- sufficient use of resources; however, shareholders could agree that it is the right thing to do. Fur- thermore, according to utilitarianism, acting on this decision reduces suffering because not only does increase happiness of former employees, it is simply the right thing to do.
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Even after committing to helping their former employees, it is important to note the un- derlying reason why downsizing is even a necessary business practice. Downsizing merely to in- crease profit and when it is not a question of survival is morally wrong. It is morally wrong if there is not an overall strategy in place besides corporate reconstructing that would justify the morality of downsizing its employees. Therefore, we can argue that downsizing helps the organ- ization compete with other organizations who are in a better position to take market share away. For instance to divert resources away from less profitable areas of the business to areas that are
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