Key Issues in Organizational Communication

By Dennis Tourish; Owen Hargie | Go to book overview

2

The communication consequences of downsizing trust, loyalty and commitment1

Dennis Tourish and Owen Hargie


Introduction

Researchers have increasingly argued that much of mainstream management practice is characterized by the enthusiastic adoption of fads (for example, Shapiro, 1995; Jackson, 2001). Managers embark on radical programmes of restructuring that throw their organizations into turmoil, but which are often based on little or no evidence that they work (Newell et al., 2001). Indeed, research often discovers that far from having a benign or even neutral impact, many such initiatives inflict severe damage (see Chapter 7, for a fuller discussion of fads). Re-engineering is one of the best examples of a self-proclaimed revolutionary practice that failed in the overwhelming majority of cases where it has been implemented (Knights and Willmott, 2000).

Much of the practitioner literature on these issues, as this chapter will show, seems to assume that destructive organizational initiatives can be salvaged by the skilled use of communication messages to engineer internal and external support for the mad, the bad or the cack-handed. The assumption is that there are no unpalatable messages, just poor communication strategies. The central focus of this chapter is on one such initiative, downsizing, which has been an integral part of the re-engineering movement. Downsizing has spread like a contagious disease through both the public and private sectors. It has been endemic in company takeovers (Hubbard, 2000), when ‘merge and purge’ seems to be the order of the day. This chapter looks at what it has meant, the rationale for its implementation, the evidence as to its effectiveness, and the communication consequences of its implementation. As will be shown, the issues raised go far beyond downsizing.

One conceptualization of communication is that it is largely a mediating device between management intentions (whatever the intention happens to be) on the one hand and their execution on the other. Within this instrumentalist perspective, the moral properties of downsizing, and its psychological consequences, are largely irrelevant. The emphasis is on how particular ends will be reached, while the ends themselves are unquestioned and assumed to be value free. An alternative perspective is that the dialogic properties of communication systems have a transformative impact on management intentions and

-17-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Key Issues in Organizational Communication
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 304

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.