Essay about Organizational Culture

6678 Words Nov 9th, 2000 27 Pages
Downsizing And Organizational Culture
Thomas A. Hickok

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Abstract
In this article Hickok argues that, ultimately, the most prominent effects of downsizing will be in relation to culture change, not in relation to saved costs or short-term productivity gains. In particular, the author notes three observations in relation to the impact of downsizing on organizational culture. First, it clearly appears that power has shifted away from rank-and-file employees in the direction of top management/ownership. Accompanying this change is a shift in emphasis away from the well-being of individuals in the direction of the pre-eminence and predominance of the
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Establishing a direct link between downsizing and organizational culture is not an easy matter, however, as the following example will demonstrate. The Chief Executive Officer of Apple Computer recently bought himself more time with disgruntled shareholders by promising to take forceful action on a number of fronts, including downsizing. The executive cited "five crises: lack of cash; declining quality; a failed operating system development project; Apple's chaotic culture; and a fragmented strategy" (Markoff, 1997). How do you connect downsizing, which is one of a number of actions being taken, with corporate culture, which is only one of a number of "crises" being solved in a manner and to a level that establishes a positive relationship?

Another reason that it is difficult to draw a specific link between downsizing and organizational culture is that there are many different variations and approaches to downsizing. A distinction has been made between proactive downsizing, which is planned in advance and usually integrated with a larger set of objectives, and reactive downsizing, which would be typified by cost-cutting as a last resort after a prolonged period of inattention to looming problems by management (Kozlowski et. al., 1991). Work force reductions can range from forceful in nature, i.e., involuntary reductions, to the milder approaches, such as resignation incentives and job sharing (Sutton and D'Aunno,
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