Surviving Layoffs: A Qualitative Study of Factors Affecting Retained Employees After Downsizing

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Workforce downsizing is becoming an increasingly common outcome of organizational restructuring. Recent studies have focused on the victims of downsizing, the employees laid off. Unfortunately, little has been said about what happens to the “survivors” of downsizing. This qualitative report documents the perspectives of a small company's layoff survivors. It examines factors that affect retained employees' performance. A conceptual framework for evaluating how downsizing impacts job performance is presented. Three main factors–need for security, desire for justice, and level of job enrichment–found to have an impact on employees' ability to actively support the company in its quest for competitive edge, are discussed.