A study of the work performance of survivors of downsized organizations

by Trent, Terri G., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 123 pages; 3505820


The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the perceptions of employees who have survived organizational downsizing events. To examine this phenomenon, three research questions were posed: What perceptions do surviving employees have of their work and their work performance following a downsizing event? To what extent do surviving employees of a downsizing event perceive that they are able to change their performance following a downsizing? What do the perceptions of surviving employees indicate about connections between downsizing and work performance of survivors following a downsizing event? Survivor perceptions were collected by an 11 item, Internet-based survey questionnaire, telephone interviews, and telephone focus groups. Results of the survey indicated that, for most participants, work performance, work quality, performance feedback, performance evaluations before and after the downsizing, and perceptions of their work product by managers remained consistent or improved following the downsizing event. Study findings indicated that survival in organizations that experienced downsizing required from survivors an awareness of organizational changes and a commitment to perform despite the circumstances. The absence of these elements led to an increase in attrition rates and a reduction in productivity of the surviving workforce. The findings also indicated that survivors who went through downsizing experienced a change in their emotional state. Study participants described symptoms including depression, anxiety, loss of loyalty, lack of motivation to perform. Study recommendations include suggestions for both the employees who survive downsizing efforts and leaders who guide organizations following these events. Further research on similar but larger samples of employees is recommended.

AdviserPatricia M. Marin
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3505820

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