Downsizing and Organisational Change LO10056

Bruce Wilson (zbruce@[])
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 11:13:50 +0000

Dear colleagues

Some months ago, a thread on the LO list canvassed the tensions between LO
and big layoffs. A number of different perspectives were expressed
concerning the issues which arise. From my interpretation of the comments
in that thread, together with other research, it seems that the tensions
are significant as downsizing leads people to be fearful for their own
future, less likely to share learning, and to be competitive with their
colleagues. On the other hand, for positive organisational change to
occur, organisations need to have moved towards the following

* the nature of decision-making has changed. Increasingly, the
combined influence of stronger emphasis on client responsiveness, and
greater reliance on sophisticated electronic databases and dispersed
communication systems has meant that client staff make more significant
decisions more quickly;

* recognition that delivering effective client service depends not
only on the staff at the client interface, but on the efficiency and
coherence of the business processes supporting the client interface;

* greater responsiveness to environmental change depends on staff
being willing to share their learning, identify concerns and to
collaborate closely with each other, whether in formal team arrangements
or otherwise;

* similarly, innovation depends on staff being willing to share their
expertise and engage in risk-taking, apparently `inefficiently' in the
short -term; and

* for organisations to deal efficiently with the speed and complexity
of the business environment, staff must be able to take their working
environment and infrastructure for granted and focus most of their energy
and expertise on business environment activities.

I am working with an organisation which is trying to maintain a
significant organisational change process whilst simultaneously planning
significant staff reductions (which have been forced on to them). I am
trying to find examples of organisations which have been able to manage
these apparently contradictory objectives successfully. I would be
grateful if people could provide me with references to case studies or
research material, especially if it is well-documented. If people would
prefer to email me directly, I would be pleased to summarise the responses
and to post them to the LO list in 2-3 weeks.

Thanks in anticipation,
_ __

Bruce Wilson
URCOT, Level 1, 171 Latrobe Street Melbourne. Australia 3000.
Ph. +613 9663 4555 Fax +613 9663 4443


"Bruce Wilson" <zbruce@[]>

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