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The Emotional Toll Of Organizational Downsizing




In spite of the frequent need for downsizing organisations, managers are in general badly prepared to meet such contingencies when they arise. There is thus a real need for educating managers to handle layoffs. This paper analyses the emotional dynamics at work in cases of downsizing organisations, the types of impact on layoff ‘survivors’ and the coping strategies that management may promote and deploy in order to minimise organisational trauma. Emotions are key factors in social life upon which a coherent sense of community ultimately depends. The idea advanced here is that understanding and managing emotions may enhance survivor coping capacities and thus prevent the major negative effects of downsizing for both the organisation and the individual. The paper concludes with practical recommendations to ensure that emotional well-being is prioritised as central to the process of downsizing in order to maximize cooperation and sustain collective endeavour.

Suggested Citation

  • Wilks, Daniela, 2008. "The Emotional Toll Of Organizational Downsizing," Working Papers 3/2008, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:cigewp:2008_003

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    Downsizing; layoffs; emotional management; coping strategies; stress;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General


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