TrainingandDevinanEraofDownsizing - Journal of Management...

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Training and Development in an Era of Downsizing Franco Gandolfi Abstract Downsizing as a restructuring strategy has been actively implemented for the last three decades. While employee reductions were utilized mainly in response to crises prior to the mid-1980s, downsizing developed into a fully-fledged managerial strategy for tens of thousands of companies in the mid- to late-1980s. Since then, downsizing has transformed the international corporate landscape and affected the lives of hundreds of millions of individuals around the world. While the overall effects of downsizing have been widely reported, many misconceptions surrounding the concept of downsizing have remained. This conceptual paper focuses on the role of training and development (T&D) during the downsizing process. In particular, the research depicts the current body of literature associated with the function of HR and its plans, programs, and policies that firms adopting downsizing must provide to their surviving workforces. Finally, the paper offers concluding comments regarding effective downsizing practices that have emerged in the literature. Keywords: Downsizing, survivors, survivor syndrome, training and development INTRODUCTION Back in the 1980s and in the early days of the 1990s, downsizing was viewed as an indicator of organizational decline. Over the past decade or so, however, downsizing has been able to shed that stigma and gained legitimacy as a reorganization strategy (Fisher and White, 2000). Despite considerable evidence showing that many downsized firms have failed to achieve their economic and organizational goals, downsizing has continued to be adopted around the world & even in the best of economic conditions (Gandolfi, 2007). Clearly, downsizing has been popular and enduring, but not always effective, productive, or valuable (Macky, 2004). This is evidenced in a substantial body of literature showcasing that downsizing has profound human consequences on the workforce, the so-called ±aftereffects² of downsizing (Littler, Dunford, Bramble, and Hede, 1997). Downsizing survivors, those individuals that remain with the firm, have become of particular concern since they are faced with increased workloads and job responsibilities, on the one hand, and since they have shown to exhibit a number of dysfunctional downsizing-related illnesses, such as the survivor syndrome, on the other hand (Gandolfi, 2006). Human Resource (HR) practitioners and scholars assert that the ignorance of the impact of downsizing on survivors is one of the key reasons for the failure of many downsizing activities and their ensuing long-term problems (Cameron, 1994; Kinnie, Hutchinson and Purcell, 1998; Farrell and Mavondo, 2004). This conceptual paper examines downsizing in the context of the management of a firm²s human resources during downsizing. It presents the main theories, assertions, and empirical findings Franco Gandolfi Director MBA/EMBA Programs Regent University School of Global Leadership & Enterpreneurship 1000 Regent University Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23464-9800 Journal of Management Research Vol. 9, No. 1, April 2009, pp. 3-14
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TrainingandDevinanEraofDownsizing - Journal of Management...

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