If the core is contingent
If the need for cost cutting and flexibility is the dominant message received by the core, it will mean that they feel subject to the sense of contingency described in Chapter 2. People will see themselves as under a psychological contract of less commitment than in the past from the organization. This will be demonstrated most graphically by periodic episodes of 'decruitment' by 'denominator managers'. However, these episodes are only the eruption of the underlying attitude towards people. Both the episodes and the attitude will have their effects. Overall, and put simply, these effects are likely to add up to the undermining of the attempt to build a winning resource.
Clearly, one cannot set one's face against reality. Delayering has been inevitable in order to achieve responsiveness to the environment and, naturally, there will be occasions when any organization has to make staff redundant. At issue is how this is communicated and particularly whether laying people off is seen by staff as a knee-jerk reaction or a last resort. Delayering as it has frequently been carried out perversely loosens the very commitment of the newly empowered people in whom it is required. It has suggested to staff that their lay-offs are the first and an easy option while stockholders grow rich and senior management continue to enjoy 'fat cat' salaries. In addition, lay-offs and restructuring in some organizations have become a repeated reaction, and a failed solution, to the contemporary environment. To cap it all, with each round of redundancies, organizations have had to be decreasingly 'generous' with their severance terms (Airman and Post, 1996).
Under these circumstances, it seems inevitable that those working in downsizing organizations will wonder when their turn might come and that those who have been laid off and are in new employment will wonder whether their turn might come again. Hamel and Prahalad (1994) declare that 'one of the inevitable results of downsizing is plummeting employee