Three Perspectives on Good and Bad in the Study of Downsizing.
Committee MemberKim, Heechun
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AbstractFor more than three decades, the primary focus of downsizing research has been upon its determinants and outcomes, but what happens in the space between a firm’s decision to adopt a downsizing strategy and its resultant outcomes? The three essays within this dissertation examine this question using different perspectives on good and bad in the study of downsizing. The first essay explores the relative strength of bad over good events in the context of firms’ employment contraction/expansion magnitude. Through a longitudinal analysis of global energy sector employment, it finds that firms downsize as a response to bad events with greater magnitude than they correspondingly upsize as a response to good events. The second essay explores the coexistence of good and bad when employees are given early layoff notification. Using narrative interviews, it highlights how institutional norms of professionalism can generate feigning behaviours that diminish negative displays of emotion amongst soon-to-be dismissed employees - they feel bad but want to look good, as professionals. The third essay explores the instability of good and bad, wherein changing external conditions make some previously ‘good’ employees appear ‘bad’ and thus become more likely targets for layoffs. Through a longitudinal analysis of who firms choose to layoff, it finds that firms disproportionately remove employees who are high-paid relative to others at the same pay level, an effect that endures even amongst employees with high levels of individual performance. Separately, each of the three studies examine the relative strength, coexistence, and instability of good and bad, while also providing insight into downsizing magnitude, early layoff notifications, and who firms choose to layoff. In their entirety, they offer insights into the liminal space between a firm’s choice to downsize and the outcomes of such a decision.
CitationHouse, A. (2021). Three Perspectives on Good and Bad in the Study of Downsizing (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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