Diminishing the social network in organizations: does there need to be such a phenomenon as 'survivor syndrome' after downsizing
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Many management fads have been shown to be detrimental to the well-being of employees as well as to the long-term competitiveness of organizations. Downsizing has been recognized as belonging to this category and research has begun to clarify what is now commonly known as ‘survivor syndrome’, the negative attitudes and behaviours of those that survive retrenchment. However, recent evidence shows that ‘survivor syndrome’ does not actually exist in all downsizing situations.By closely examining the specific conditions under which the effects of downsizing are lessened, this study contributes to the development of effective interventions for dealing with organizational change. Using the data from a longitudinal survey, this paper investigates the impact of downsizing on survivor attitudes of affective and continuance commitment, general and specific job satisfaction, perceived organizational support, and the behaviours of performance, effort, turnover intention and absenteeism.While analyses reveal evidence of decline in some of the variables after the downsizing, a more important finding was support for the counter-argument that a syndrome does not actually exist. Four of the variables were not significantly affected by downsizing. The implication for management is that effective management of a downsizing programme can decrease the likelihood of a syndrome permeating an organization.
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