Our coauthor and good friend Professor Gretchen Spreitzer of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business was recently interviewed about our article, elaborating on our key findings, and you can listen to the interview here.
Our article on how to improve organizational flexibility, innovation, and internal communication to improve trust during downsizing was just published by MIT Sloan Management Review. Here is an excerpt:
After more than two decades of research into corporate downsizing, there remains a fundamental question: “How can managers and employees rethink their organizations even as they confront the need to downsize?” More specifically, how can organizations support learning, innovation and creativity while at the same time finding effective ways to improve costs, quality and productivity? Some might argue that these goals are at odds with one another — that you can’t build a better and a leaner organization. We disagree. In our 1998 Sloan Management Review article, “Preserving Employee Morale During Downsizing,” we maintained that strong organizations need to develop resilience so they could take advantage of new opportunities that arise during periods of economic retrenchment.
In the last decade, we have continued to follow the organizations we profiled in our original article and have started studying additional organizations that have undergone significant change, including downsizing. We have conducted scores of additional interviews with top executives, surveyed hundreds of employees and collected performance data. We have also coached managers whose organizations have initiated downsizings as part of their global outsourcing efforts. Through these efforts we have identified three additional success factors that are important to successful downsizing: (1) Organizations must become more flexible; (2) they must become more innovative and creative; and (3) they must improve their communications with stakeholders who are increasingly skeptical of downsizing efforts. The emphasis on flexibility, innovation and communications will require even greater levels of trust and empowerment.
You can go here to register and download a copy of the full article. Much more information about the research findings and strategies for downsizing effectively can be found in our book, Trust is Everything.