HR professionals' experience with downsizing and survivorship: An exploratory inquiry

by Jennings, Eunice D., D.B.A., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2016, 150 pages; 10195584


Downsizing is an organizational change strategy that ideally has been focused on reducing the workforce and increasing profitability. The issue of downsizing continues to be a topic of interest for practitioners, researchers, and the academic community. This qualitative exploratory inquiry explored the perspectives of HR professionals’ experience with downsizing and survivorship. HR professionals are not exempt from downsizing as it occurs, even within the department of human resources. Knowingly, they admitted to understanding their downsizing responsibilities and obligations to others in their own department. The results of this study demonstrated that the experience is not only taxing on those being laid off, but the HR professionals also experienced the emotionality of the downsizing from both perspectives of delivering the bad news and coping with their own survivorship. Still, if HR professionals are ignored, the objectivity of downsizing may be hindered. Thus, the current study focus was to understand the HR professionals’ experience with downsizing and survivorship, to the extent of the ability to assist with administering and implementing downsizing to others in their own department. Gaining their perspective furthered the understanding of facilitation, aspects of coping, and support from leaders throughout the downsizing process. The findings from this study comprised of 8 HR professionals revealed that HR professionals who were included in the downsizing decision had a higher aptitude to being receptive to moving forward in the downsizing decision, than those with whom the decision was unshared and came without warning. HR professionals understood that downsizing was a necessary part of their professional career in discussing the key components in downsizing transition and facilitation of organizational change.

AdviserJoseph Avella
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBusiness administration; Management; Business education
Publication Number10195584

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