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 1

Downsizing, Restructuring, and Reengineering: An Overview
Organizational change and, in particular, downsizing has become an all too common phenomenon during the past decade (Zdrodowski, 1993). Of the Fortune 1,000 companies, 85 percent report downsizing between 1987 and 1991 with 50 percent downsizing in 1990 (Mishra and Mishra, 1994). Of the companies that downsize once, 65 percent will often do it again the following year, and multiple downsizings are not uncommon. Fully 100 percent of Fortune 500 companies report plans to downsize in the next five years (Cameron, 1994; Vaill, 1989). Downsizing (reducing the size of the workforce to achieve lower cost and better productivity), however, often does not achieve the intended outcome of creating a more cost effective, efficient, leaner, meaner, and more productive workforce. The titles to many articles on downsizing underscore its problematic nature as a competitive or perhaps even strategic response to competition and change (Filipowski, 1993). Some of the more interesting titles of articles are these:
• “The Pain of Downsizing” (Byrne, 1994—a Business Week cover story)
• “Downsizing with Dignity” (Zdrodowski, 1993)
• “The Dangerous Ploy of Downsizing” (Roth, 1993)
• “Downsizing: The Aftermath” (Preston, 1992)
• “Don’t Rush Downsizing: Plan, Plan, Plan” (Greengard, 1993)
• “Building a Winning Team after Downsizing” (Pinola, 1994)
• “Of Butchers and Bakers: Is Downsizing Good for the Company” (Reich, 1993)
• “Downsizing Isn’t Always Right Sizing” (Filipowski, 1993)

-3-

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