The Human Cost of a Management Failure: Organizational Downsizing at General Hospital

By Seth Allcorn; Howell S.Baum et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Case Interpretations and Overview

The interviews in Chapter 7 underscored the negative effects of the trends described in Part III. Staff morale is very low and there now exists clear evidence of disillusionment and distrust of the leadership of General Hospital.


INTERPRETATION BY HOWELL BAUM

Themes

Much at the hospital is the same, only worse. It hardly seems to bear noting. Top managers tell subordinates little about their intentions or actions. Staff continue to worry about cuts and bemoan low morale. People feel powerless, anxious, suspicious, angry, and betrayed. And on and on it goes.

And yet there are differences—developments, though decidedly negative ones. Jeri Glover notes that staff do not discuss their feelings about what has happened and what they fear. The tone of these interviews is more subdued than in the past. People say they are waiting to see what will happen. One might call it the calm before the storm, but it is more like the calm in the eye of the storm. People have been shaken terribly already, and the death-like calm only gives them time to worry about the inescapable devastation coming next.

Staff members have described others or themselves as depressed before, but more seem depressed now. The flatter affect of many interviews does not mean people are apathetic. Rather, people do not discuss their feelings with others or with themselves because they cannot: Some feelings are so frightening, people keep them unconscious, out

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