LO & Big Layoffs LO5855

William J. Hobler, Jr. (bhobler@cpcug.org)
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 14:19:25 -0500

Replying to LO5809 --

On 22 Feb 96 Rol Fessenden wrote concerning LO & Big Layoffs

>Once management has taken a 40-70% pay cut, and everyone else has taken a
>20% pay cut,

A recent issue of Time Magazine cover story presented a fairly balanced
view of downsizing in the US. The article points out that top management
sometimes does not take a pay cut. It also points out cases in which top
management has given much more back to front line workers than they have
taken for themselves.

My point is that Rol is right, there are at least two sides to this
management issue. Almost every time I look into a complex business
problem I find at least three plausible choices. I find it easiest to go
along with conventional wisdom. This is my signal to examine the other
alternatives. Maybe I'm just a contrarian.

>I think Phillip's example is a wonderful example of how participative
>management can work in a crisis.

The Harvard Business Review in the past year or two has carried several
articles concerning a company in South America that ran into hard times.
The CEO let everyone know and worked with them on a solution. The
solution was a loose confederation of small companies formed by the
employees and, in many cases provided equipment and space by the parent

>I just think there is only one person who will be responsible for the
>final decision to downsize.

Only is a strong, excluding, word. I have seen major projects guided by
two people each given identical positions and responsibilities. Rare for
sure, and built on a level of trust among the people taking responsibility
that is rare. The trust is only built over time and mutually supporting
decisions by all involved. Truly Learning Organization like behavior.

Conversely, I have seen joint decisions for unpopular actions being
assigned to a person -- scape goating to avoid having blame assigned to
the whole senior staff.

If the objective is really to work toward organizational survival it is
less than ethical to see only one action, or one part of the organ- ism.
What is the effect of letting these people go on our immediate bottom
line, on the morale and productivity of the remaining work force, on our
ability to sustain our core competencies, on our customer service.....
and on and on.

Here in this dialog has our conversation been too narrow? Is this not a
system issue? Shouldn't we take a more holistic view?

bhobler@cpcug.org ( William J. Hobler, Jr.) Bill


"William J. Hobler, Jr." <bhobler@cpcug.org>

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