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Job insecurity and certainty of job loss: a comparative analysis of downsizing and closedown literatures
Örebro University, Swedish Business School at Örebro University. (CEROC)
Högskolan i Dalarna, Department of Economy and Society.
2008 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper provides an elaboration on the application of the downsizing literature, and more specifically literature on job insecurity, in a closedown context. This is done in order to provide a distinction to and demarcation of two adjacent and overlapping literatures on restructuring events involving layoffs. By doing so, we advance the understanding and outline a comparative analysis of these literatures and analytically demarcate their applicability in closedown contexts.

Evidently from the oft-cited job-insecurity literature, work force reductions often lead to negative performance outcomes that are often manifested through and referred to as the ‘survivor syndrome’. On the contrary empirical evidence show that, closedowns result in high performance outcome and increased productivity despite the fact of certainty of job loss – this has been referred to as the Closedown effect.

The dynamics of both restructuring processes are essentially different in both the evolvement as well as their outcome. Job insecurity, increased centralization in decision making, loss of innovativeness, resistance to change, decreasing morale, increasing conflicts and lack of team work are traditionally seen as some of the negative consequences of downsizing activities. Research on closedowns has on the other hand indicated a range of explanations to the Closedown effect such as diminishing management control, increased operative space for the workers, increased levels of day-to-day rationalizations through the development of innovative skills, increasing morale as well as the development of informal leadership and self-organizing groups, in a situation where workers experience a certainty of job loss.

Previous research on closedowns has conceptualized different periods in the closedown process and has indicated a typical ‘hockey-stick’ pattern of the productivity development and identified analytically distinctive periods in the closedown process. Evident from the literature the advance notice and negotiation periods are characterized by high levels of experienced job insecurity and uncertainty and negative performance outcomes. The following countdown period is on the other hand characterized by certainty of job loss and an ideal-typical productivity increase effect that is specific for closedown contexts. We argue that the application of the downsizing literature is relevant for the closedown context during the advance notice period. Our analysis of both literatures indicates a difference between these contexts, especially during the run down period.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
Keyword [en]
Closedown, Downsizing, Job insecurity, Job loss, Restructuring
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3818OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-3818DiVA, id: diva2:138116
Conference
European Academy of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP)
Available from: 2009-01-12 Created: 2009-01-12 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Hansson, Magnus

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
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More languages
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  • asciidoc
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