Friday, March 12, 1999
9:45 am - 11:15 am
Organizational Culture and Behavior-Based Safety: Making Safety Work
Jason P. DePasquale, MS* and E. Scott Geller, Center for Applied Behavior Systems Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
During visits to each site, research teams conducted one-on-one interviews and held focus-group meetings to discuss reasons for program successes/failures, and to explore strategies for improving the long-term implementation of a BBS process. Specifically, participants in all focus groups were asked to indicate the biggest obstacles faced, the key ingredients to success, and what they would do to improve their organization's BBS process. A total of 31 focus groups gave 629 responses to six different questions. A content analysis of these responses has uncovered useful information for understanding what employees are looking for in a BBS process.
Responses were categorized as behavior-based factors, person-based factors, or environment-based factors. The classification of each response was performed by two subject-matter experts who reached consensus on each item. Results indicate the critical roles of interpersonal trust, management support, and employee participation for effective BBS efforts.
A perception survey was also administered to employees in participating organizations. The survey measures a number of different variables that prior research has shown influence success in safety efforts. Results obtained in the current research uncovered relations among these variables as they relate to aspects of a BBS process. Specifically, survey data indicated five variables to be predictive of employee involvement in a BBS process: 1) perceptions of BBS training, 2) trust in management abilities, 3) accountability for BBS through performance appraisals, 4) whether or not one had received education in BBS, and 5) tenure with the organization.
Employees in organizations mandating employee participation in a BBS process reported significantly higher levels of a) employee involvement, b) trust in management, c) trust in coworkers, and d) satisfaction with BBS training, than employees in organizations with a completely voluntary BBS process (n=12). In addition, employees in organizations with a mandatory processes (n=8) reported significantly greater frequencies of giving and receiving positive behavior-based feedback.
Corresponding Author: Jason P. DePasquale, MS, Center for Applied Behavior Systems, Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, 5100 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0436, USA
Safety Self-Management: A Case Study of Self-Observation, Self-Recording & Group Feedback
Steven Clarke*, and E. Scott Geller, Center for Applied Behavior Systems Dept. of Psychology, Virginia Tech
Self-management is an improvement process whereby individuals change their own behavior in a goal-directed fashion by: 1) manipulating behavioral antecedents, 2) observing and recording specific target behaviors, and 3) self-administrating rewards for personal achievements. The practical benefits of self-management processes have been demonstrated in numerous clinical settings.
Self-management is non-invasive, simple, and effective. Unfortunately, the potential benefits of using self-management techniques to improve work safety have not been evaluated. The current research studied the viability of self-observation technology as a technique for increasing the safe driving behaviors of short-haul truck drivers.
A subsample of 12 male drivers from Site A (self-management) and 11 male drivers from Site B (control) were randomly selected to participate. During the week prior to implementing the self-observation intervention, trained research assistants observed the driving behaviors of participants while riding in the passenger seat of the delivery truck. All employees (n = 30) at Site A were then asked to complete a self-observation checklist on ten consecutive workdays. While on their sales routes, drivers recorded various driving behaviors. Self-observation forms were collected and graphed on a daily basis. During the week following the intervention, research assistants again observed the driving behaviors of the drivers during a ride-along.
A percent safe score was calculated for each participant�s driving behavior. A total percent safe score was also calculated. A 2 Time (pre- vs. post-intervention) x 2 Group (self-management vs. control) mixed model ANOVA was calculated for each dependent variable. Results indicated a significant Time x Group interaction for overall percent safe, F(1, 21) = 7.53, p < .05. Follow-up analyses indicated that overall safety did not improve in the control group (from 71.5% to 75.4%), p > .05. In contrast there was a significant increase in the overall safety of the self-observation group (from 66.8% to 87.8%), p > .05. Based on this finding, each driving behavior was examined. Results indicated a significant increase for both lane changes and complete stops in the self-observation group (from 0.0% to 100.0% for lane changes; and from 48.1 to 96.9% for complete stops), ps < .05. No other effects were significant for the remaining driving behaviors, but all means were in the expected direction.
Overall, these results indicate that self-observation may be an effective technique for improving driving safety. While these findings are encouraging, further research is obviously needed. Flexible and cost-effective safety self-management techniques that can be implemented in a wide variety of work settings need to be developed and evaluated.
Corresponding Author: Steven Clarke, Center for Applied Behavior Systems, Dept. of Psychology, Virginia Tech, 5100 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0436, USA (email@example.com)
Exploring Relationships Between Personality and Driving With Intelligent Transportation Systems
Thomas Boyce, MS,* & E. Scott Geller, Ph.D., Center for Applied Behavior Systems Dept. of Psychology, Virginia Tech
The proposed research combined theories derived from personality and social psychology, and the principles of behavior analysis to study relationships between individual differences and driving performance by: a) deriving valid and reliable measures of at-risk driving based on computer-generated and video data collected with an intelligent transportation systems (ITS) instrumented vehicle (Smart Car), b) evaluating the relationship between personality, age and gender, and driving performance, including a measure of truthfulness of self-reported driving style, and c) defining a "risky driving syndrome" through identification of clusters of driving behaviors that are functionally related.
Sixty licensed drivers (29 males and 31 females) from southwest Virginia participated, ranging in age from 18 to 82 years (M = 42). All participants were recruited through ads in local newspapers, and posted flyers offering $10.00 an hour for participation in a study of cognitive mapping and way-finding. Participants completed a driving trial in an instrumented vehicle around a predetermined driving course in normal traffic. The driving route included city, rural, and highway driving. All performance measures were recorded with an in-vehicle computer and video monitoring system. Included for analysis were: a) number of times a turn-signal was used; b) vehicle velocity (speed) including average speed, velocity changes, and velocity variance; c) following distance; d) number and duration of lane deviations; and f) the frequency and type of in-vehicle behaviors not relevant to driving.
Initial analyses revealed the occurrence of other at-risk driving events resulted from errors due to inattention (e.g., not maintaining vehicle position in lane as a result of irrelevant in-vehicle behavior) or aggressive behaviors (e.g., speeding). Older drivers experienced more errors due to cognitive failures (inability to respond appropriately), whereas younger drivers exhibited more errors from frequent unnecessary in-vehicle behaviors, and aggressive driving.
The relationship between personality and driving style is currently being assessed. Scores collected from reliable and valid personality inventories are being used as predictors of driving performance in a series of regression analyses. Preliminary results indicate that regardless of age or gender, a positive relationship exists between at-risk driving and impulsivity, hostility, and external locus of control. Implications of these findings for identifying a risky driving pattern and the extent to which this pattern is related to age, gender, and personality variables are discussed.
Corresponding Author: T. Boyce, MS, Center for Applied Behavior Systems, Dept. of Psychology, Virginia Tech, 5100 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0436
Findings From A $20 Million Statewide Work and Health Initiative
Chair: Stewart I. Donaldson, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University; Presenters: Ruth Brousseau, Ph.D., and Lucia Corral Pena, J.D., The California Wellness Foundation; Rick Price, Ph.D., University of Michigan; Linda Fowells, Community Partners; and Laura E. Gooler, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University.
Work is a major determinant of health and well-being. Over a century of research has shown that health status is affected by the presence or absence of work, the conditions of work, and by employee responses to work undertaken (cf. Karasek & Theorell, 1990). Yet, all around there are the unmistakable indicators that the nature of work as we now understand it is undergoing a fundamental redefinition. Researchers and practitioners alike point to certain factors which are either driving or enabling this transformation: intensified global competition; access to new and developing markets; fluctuating demographics; rising expectations of the labor force; and the rapid advancement of computerized technology (e.g. Howard, 1995). The impact of these changes on employee health and well-being and organizational effectiveness, however, remains largely unexplored. Even less is known about effective organizational and social interventions for improving well-being in today�s turbulent work environment.
The purpose of this symposium is to discuss some of the implications of and a strategic response to the changing nature of work in California in relation to the health, well-being, and quality of life of California workers, as well as the effectiveness of organizations. We begin by discussing some key changes facing California workers and their implications for health and well-being. We then discuss a strategic, state-wide initiative funded by The California Wellness Foundation designed to understand the rapidly changing nature of work and its effects on the health of Californians, and to improve health through approaches related to employment. Key findings from two demonstration projects will be presented. The first will explore strategies and outcomes for enabling healthy career transitions and reemployment for 6,500 Californians in the Winning New Jobs program. The second will share findings from our Computers In Our Future program that is designed to build technology literacy for employability and increase access to computer technology to over 27,000 Californians. We conclude with a discussion of key challenges and lessons learned from evaluating strategic, community-based approaches to employment and reemployment.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Stewart I. Donaldson, Ph.D., Director, Division of Organizational Strategy & Evaluation, Claremont Graduate University, 250 West First Street, Suite 254, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
Improving Health and Well-Being Through Employment Approaches: Science and Practice
Stewart I. Donaldson, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University.
Much research has shown that work is of primary importance both socially, and personally for individuals throughout the world. For example, work not only contributes to one's economic well-being, but establishes patterns of social interaction, imposes a schedule on peoples' lives, and provides them with structure, a sense of identity and self-esteem (Donaldson & Weiss, 1997). Work also provides others with a means of judging status, skills, and personal worth. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the nature of one's work (e.g., the presence or absence of work; the conditions of work) is most often a major determinant of her or his health status, well-being, and overall quality of life (cf. Dooley, Fielding, & Levi, 1996; Karasek & Theorell, 1990; Keita & Sauter, 1992; Levi, 1994).
The purpose of this paper is to expand the domain of worksite health promotion to include the science and practice of promoting health "through work" as well as "at work." Much of this discussion will focus on understanding and responding to new links between work and health in a changing workplace. It is posited in this paper that the nature of work itself, including psychosocial working conditions and access to quality employment, is perhaps the single most powerful vehicle for improving health and well-being in modern societies. Furthermore, systematic efforts toward improving the conditions of work, that are guided by rigorous evaluation research, seem to hold great promise for promoting health, well-being, and productivity, as well as preventing social and community problems.
Unfortunately, most companies do not have the time or resources to commit to proactive strategies for simultaneously enhancing health, well-being, and organizational effectiveness. This suggests that public, private, and community-based initiatives are also needed to effectively respond to the changing nature of work. Toward this goal, this paper presents a state-wide Work and Health Initiative, funded by The California Wellness Foundation, which is specifically designed to enhance the health and well-being of Californians through approaches related to employment. A key goal for the issues presented in this paper is to stimulate other scientists and practitioners to consider the nature of work in their efforts toward preventing and solving community problems.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Stewart I. Donaldson, Ph.D., Director, Division of Organizational Strategy & Evaluation, Claremont Graduate University, 250 West First Street, Suite 254, Claremont, CA 91711, USA
The California Wellness Foundation's Work and Health Initiative
Ruth Brousseau, Ph.D.,* & Lucia Corral, J. D., The California Wellness Foundation.
In June 1994 the Board of Directors of The California Wellness Foundation launched a five year, $20 million commitment to improve the health of Californians through approaches related to employment. Jobs are a very unusual focus for a health foundation, and an immediate need emerged with the announcement of this Initiative to answer the question: "Why is a health foundation funding programs to advance people's employment opportunities?" This paper will discuss the genesis of the Work and Health Initiative at The California Wellness Foundation; a framework created to make the case for a health foundation being involved in work issues; the Initiative's Future of Work and Health Program that is extending and disseminating knowledge about work and health relationships with an eye on California's rapidly changing economy; and a growing dialogue in the philanthropic community about creating closer linkages between the traditionally very distinct domains of health and economic development.
To identify which changing aspects of work are most important to the future health of California, The California Wellness Foundation convened a panel of experts including both researchers and practitioners in health, economics, and economic development to advise the Future of Work and Health Program. This paper will discuss the issues identified by this Panel. It will also describe a series of grants related to these issues that is building a cumulative body of knowledge about the most significant changing work and health relationships in California. The process of implementing this program is also intentionally creating an interdisciplinary network of researchers and practitioners collaborating on these issues, and the process of building and maintaining this network will be described. Finally, the paper will also discuss how this Initiative contributes to a growing recognition in the philanthropic community of the need for more collaboration between foundations working in two traditionally very distinct areas: health and economic development.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Ruth Brousseau, Ph.D. Senior Program Officer. The California Wellness Foundation. One Kearny Street, 9th Floor. San Francisco, CA 94108, USA.
Winning New Jobs: Enabling Healthy Career Transitions and Reemployment
Dr. Richard Price,* Daniel S. Friedland, Paula Wishart, Jin Nam Choi, and Dr. Amiram D. Vinnokur, University of Michigan
During the past decade many Californian workers have lost stable, well-paying jobs due to structural economic changes and major advances in technology. Many of these displaced workers remain unemployed for long periods, suffering a variety of negative psychosocial health consequences including depression, lowered self-esteem, and substance abuse. Searching for a new job can be a long-term, uncertain coping activity that requires substantial self-control and self-efficacy, all punctuated by discouragement and setbacks.
Under the sponsorship of TCWF, the Manpower Development Research Corporation (MDRC) has teamed with the Michigan Prevention Research Center (MPRC) to launch the Winning New Jobs (WNJ) project in three California communities. WNJ has the goals of promoting high-quality reemployment and preventing poor mental health among the unemployed. More specifically, WNJ seeks to: 1) develop reemployment training capacities within three California community-based organizations, whose staffs will be trained to deliver the JOBS intervention; 2) train a total of 6,500 unemployed persons representing a mix of Californian job losers, by income classifications, industry, race, and sex who have been displaced or recently unemployed, during a four year operational period from 1997-2000; 3) promote reemployment in high-quality jobs, reduce the number of unemployment recurrences, and the length of unemployment episodes for program participants; thus, preventing poor mental health outcomes associated with unemployment; 4) replicate the JOBS program within other community organizations by encouraging corporations, foundations and government agencies to sponsor and adopt additional programs; 5) increase the motivation of the three agencies to continue the program after the funding period has ended by helping each create a self-sustaining infrastructure that will persist in serving the needs of the unemployed in their community; and 6) contribute to the scientific literature on the implementation and mutual adaptation processes, and organizational readiness to adopt innovative programs.
This component of the symposium will be used to describe the program model, as well as the new knowledge that has been generated through the implementation at three community based organizations which received funding, staff training, and technical support to implement and deliver the JOBS training model. The research described is largely attuned to program implementation and mutual adaptation processes. In particular, this discussion will cover what has been learned about the WNJ implementation process and its three interdependent subprocesses of mobilization, implementation, and institutionalization (Berman, 1981).
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Richard H. Price, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Director, Institute for Social Research. P. O. Box 1248, Room 2263. Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, USA.
Computers in Our Future: Building Technology Literacy for Employability
Linda Fowells, Program Director, Community Partners
With the growing need for technology training as a building block for employability, community computing centers are a potentially powerful resource for fostering technology access and literacy, the development of life skills, and employability within low-income communities. In particular, the development of culturally relevant programming within such environments raises the possibility of reaching and effectively preparing youth and young adults for success in the workplace and the communities of tomorrow.
Under the sponsorship of The California Wellness Foundation, Community Partners, The Children's Partnership, and CompuMentor have formed a partnership to coordinate the implementation of the Computers in Our Future (CIOF) program in eleven low-income communities in California. CIOF is a four-year, $6 million program designed to explore and demonstrate ways in which community computing centers can help young people and adults in low-income communities use computers to improve their educational and employment opportunities, thereby improving their health and well-being and that of their families and communities. To accomplish these goals, CIOF has developed 14 community computing centers in community-based organizations and schools across California.
This segment of the symposium will discuss how the 14 sites have demonstrated innovative, culturally sensitive strategies for using computer technology to meet economic, educational, and developmental needs of their local communities, with a special focus on preparing youth and young adults ages 14-23 for success in employment and in the aspects of education that lead to successful employment. The emphasis on this population acknowledges the special needs and risks of young people in transition from school to work, and the long-term benefits anticipated from computer-related access and training during this transition. As conceptualized, the CIOF program is designed to target the confluence of a number of the important changes affecting the nature of work; in particular, the demographic, social, and technological changes which will profoundly impact the way employees work and live in the future. In so doing, CIOF seeks to demonstrate to employers, policy makers and the general public that investing funds and political support toward computer training programs in low-income communities has measurable dividends for both the workplace and society.
An explicit goal of the program is that each community will develop its own unique program. At the same time there are certain program-wide standards which help to provide the common ground for a state-wide collaborative network. This segment of the symposium will be used to describe the program model, the 14 community computing centers, as well as key findings, challenges and lessons learned with respect to program development and implementation, and the achievement of program goals and outcomes.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Linda Fowells, Computers In Our Future Program Director, Community Partners, 3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1600, Los Angeles, CA 90010, USA.
Lessons Learned From Evaluating Community-Based Programs
Laura E. Gooler, Ph.D.* & Stewart I. Donaldson, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University.
This paper will describe key challenges and lessons learned from conducting complex and multifaceted evaluations for 4 programs under The California Wellness Foundation's $20 million strategic and statewide "Work and Health Initiative." The 4 programs include: Winning New Jobs, Computers in Our Future, Health Insurance Policy Program, and The Future of Work and Health. The mission of the Work and Health Initiative Evaluator is to evaluate the goals, objectives, strategies, and outcomes of each of the four Initiative programs, as well as the long-term impact of the Initiative as a whole. The purpose of the Initiative evaluation is to serve as an integrating, synthesizing force in providing feedback for continuous program improvement and for determining outcomes and impacts of Initiative programs.
This paper will present lessons learned and their implications for integrating a theory-driven, solution-focused, and empowerment approach into evaluations that are designed to foster continuous program improvement, maximize operational program effectiveness, and evaluate program impacts at multiple levels, including individual, organizational, community and policy.
The solution-focused, empowerment approach adopted by CGU has played a key role in helping the Evaluation Team to engage Initiative grantees in the evaluation planning, design, and data collection process. To illustrate this, this segment of the symposium will focus the key requirements evaluating community-based programs. Particular emphasis will be placed on showing how this approach increases our understanding about how programs work and when they work, and how to address key issues challenging continuous program improvement, such as: dealing with inherent tensions between key stakeholders, balancing research rigor with practical resource constraints, maintaining program fidelity, managing evaluation anxiety, and establishing appropriate feedback mechanisms.
Additionally, audience members will hear first hand experiences and recommendations for: (1) creating stakeholder involvement in and commitment to developing conceptual frameworks and program models that link the objectives and strategies together and that drive the content and activities of the program; (2) establishing mutually agreed upon success criteria among multiple stakeholders and determining the most appropriate evaluation design, data collection and monitoring activities given the program theory (and within program resource constraints); and (3) monitoring and providing feedback in the quality control functions necessary to ensure successful continuous program improvement process.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Laura E. Gooler, Ph.D., Associate Director, Division of Organizational Strategy & Evaluation, Claremont Graduate University, 250 West First Street, Suite 254, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.
Downsizing: The Financial Impact on Organizations
Wayne F. Cascio, Ph.D. Graduate School of BusinessUniversity of Colorado-Denver
At least since the mid 1980s, employment downsizing has been regarded as the preferred route to improve corporate efficiency. Indeed, Newsweek magazine commented that "Firing people has gotten to be trendy in corporate America, in the same way that building new plants and being considered a good corporate citizen gave you bragging rights 25 years ago" (2/26/96, p. 44). At the same time, The New York Times reported that more than 43 million jobs had been extinguished since 1979, and that the rate of job loss hit a peak of 3.4 million a year in 1992 and had remained that high ever since (3/3/96). Literally dozens of articles have documented the phenomenon of corporate employment downsizing that has been occurring for white-collar job holders since the mid 1980s. Many of the articles have focused on the negative consequences to individuals, families, and communities of people losing their jobs. Others, particularly in the business press, have extolled the benefits of companies making themselves "lean and mean."
Despite the considerable coverage in the popular and business press devoted to the topic of downsizing, one could make a long list of things we do not know about this phenomenon. Working as an inter-disciplinary team, my colleagues (James Morris in finance and Clifford Young in marketing) and I have been trying to reduce that list by doing some systematic analysis of data on employment downsizing. This presentation will report the results of some of that analysis. Specifically, we addressed the following three questions about downsizing:
Who have been the downsizers?
How pervasive has downsizing been?
Did companies that engaged in substantial employment downsizing improve their financial performance subsequent to the downsizing? More specifically,
a. Were there long-term cost savings resulting from the downsizings?
b. Did companies that downsized outperform companies that did not?
c. Did stock market investors benefit from the downsizings?
Using data from companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 between 1980 and 1994, we examined 5,479 occurrences of changes in employment in terms of two dependent variables: profitability (return on assets) and return on common stock. Firms that engaged in pure employment downsizing did not show significantly higher returns than the average companies in their own industries, and they were less profitable than many large companies that remained stable employers.
Given these results, we conclude that downsizing may not necessarily generate the benefits sought by management. Managers must be very cautious in implementing a strategy that can impose such traumatic costs on employees, both on those who leave as well as on those who stay.
What We Know About Organizational Downsizing: One More Time
Kim Cameron, Marriot School of Management, Brigham Young University
The impact of downsizing on organizational performance has been summarized before (e.g. Cameron & Burnett, 1998; Cascio, 1993), but it remains controversial and ill-defined in practice and in scholarly discussion. This presentation highlights, one more time, the major evidence showing the (often negative) outcomes associated with downsizing as well as the research-based prescriptions for downsizing effectively.
Corporate downsizing remains the most pervasive organizational improvement strategy in the 1990s business world. Instead of the exception practices by only a few organizations in trouble, downsizing has become the norm. A 1995 study of six industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States) found that more than 90 percent of the firms had downsized, and more than two-thirds were planning to do it again (Wyatt, 1993). More than 70 percent of Americans have been touched personally or have had a relative affected by downsizing, and more people lose their jobs every year than are affected by violent crime (3 million laid-off employees versus 2 million crime victims).
Little evidence exists that downsizing as a strategy for improvement is successful. Two thirds of companies that downsize end up doing it again a year later, and the stock prices of firms that downsized during the 1980s actually lagged industry averages in the 1990s (Pearlstein, 1994; The Economist, 1996). Evidence suggests that quality, productivity, and customer service often decline over time, and financial performance - while frequently improving in the short-run after downsizing due to promised savings and lower costs - erodes over the long-run. The potential liability associated with downsizing is more that financial. In a study of 281 acute care hospitals, all of which reduced headcount through downsizing, mortality and morbidity rates were 200% to 400% higher in the facilities that downsized by means of a traditional across-the-board reduction methods.
Three major strategies or approaches to downsizing have been identified (see Cameron, Freeman, & Mishra, 1993). These strategies also differ in their effectiveness and impact on organizational performance. The three approaches can be labeled (1) workforce reduction strategies, (2) organization redesign strategies, and (3) systemic strategies. Each will be described in detail in the presentations as well as identifying their differential impacts on organizational performance. The three strategies are not mutually exclusive. Most organizations implement several alternatives in a single type of strategy (e.g. layoffs, early retirements, buyouts - all workforce reduction strategies). On the other hand, the most effective firms implement all three types of strategies (an unusual occurrence). The effects on performance when all three strategies are applied have been found to be significantly different than when workforce reduction strategies or organizational redesign strategies were used alone.
Vicious and Virtuous Cycles in Layoff Survivor Reactions
Batia M. Wiesenfeld, Stern School of Business, New York University, 44 W. 4th St., New York, NY 10012
Organizations frequently report that they did not achieve the benefits that they expected from the downsizing process (Fuchsberg, 1994). Further evidence that layoffs are often unsuccessful is the fact that most firms conducting layoffs find that they must downsize again and again, in many cases soon after the first downsizing. For example, in a sample of organizations that announced layoffs in The Wall Street Journal during 1991, two-thirds of the firms were forced to downsize again within four years (Wiesenfeld, 1997a).
What is responsible for the fact that layoffs are often unsuccessful and that many firms must repeat the costly and painful downsizing process frequently? To answer this question, I believe that it is essential to examine what happens in an organization in the period following layoffs. In the aftermath of layoffs, the productivity and efficiency of the organization is likely to depend upon the behaviors and attitudes of its employees, most of whom are layoff survivors � those who remain with the organization following layoffs. When survivors react negatively to layoffs, their commitment and work motivation are lower, counteracting the benefits that organizations expect to derive from downsizing efforts.
In this symposium, I emphasize the importance of vicious or virtuous cycles affecting survivors' reactions. I suggest that these cycles are self-reinforcing and thus may be compounded over time. Moreover, social processes often drive these cycles, and therefore the effects may be transmitted from one person to another. For example, consider the vicious cycle of cascading negative outcomes that is triggered by surviving managers' reactions to unfair layoffs (Wiesenfeld, 1997b). My research suggests that managers experience unfair layoffs as a threat to the self (Wiesenfeld, 1997b; Wiesenfeld, Brockner & Thibault, 1998). Furthermore, their natural, self-protective response to the experience of such threat is to become cautious, defensive, rigid and controlling. These reactions are the opposite of those that are most needed from managers in changing organizations, such as innovation, empowerment, and the formulation of a vision for the future. The negative effects of the discrepancy between the behaviors that are elicited by managers' experience of layoffs and the behaviors desired of such managers is most apparent when considering the impact of managers' behaviors on their subordinates � when managers are rigid, cautious and controlling, subordinates' morale and productivity suffer.
Virtuous cycles triggered by downsizing may be particularly important because of their implications for how layoffs can be better managed. In examining virtuous cycles, I consider the factors that contribute to resilience, or the ability of survivors and their organizations to bounce back after facing severe threats.
In this symposium, I will explore some of these vicious and virtuous cycles, incorporating empirical results from studies of downsizing in several organizations. Furthermore, I will discuss the implications of my perspective for future research on survivors' reactions.
The Effects of Organizational Downsizing or Restructuring on Workers' Health and Well-Being
Pepper L,1 Messinger M,1 Boden L,1 Jacobs M,1 Murphy L,2 Lim S-Y.3
1 Boston University 2 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 3 Allstate Research Planning and Center; this work was conducted while author was at NIOSH
Data will be presented describing the individual and organizational consequences of downsizing and organizational restructuring in the U.S. Department of Energy (D.O.E.) Nuclear defense complex. Five DOE facilities, with varying downsizing rates and practices, and from different geographical locations, participated in this study. The project has focused on those who survived the downsizing and restructuring events at their facility. Both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including interviews, focus groups, and surveys, are employed to gather information on organizational characteristics (e.g. commitment, work group cooperation, communication, innovation, justice, safety climate, supervisory practices, and morale), job characteristics (e.g. job security, control, work demands, social support, skill utilization, and role ambiguity), organizational change (e.g. perception of downsizing practices, opportunity, and anticipation of future downsizing), general health and well-being of the survivors. Additional data including absenteeism, employee assistance program utilization, and safety records, will be collected.
In this paper, only survey data of employees from management to production workers from all five sites will be presented. Specifically, this paper examines 1) the relationship between perceptions of downsizing practices and anticipation of future downsizing, and workers' health and well-being; 2) perception of opportunities created during organizational restructuring and its effect on workers' health and well-being; 3) the relationship between job strain and safety and workers' health and well-being and morale; and 4) the effects of rates of downsizing on perception of the downsizing practices, safety climate, and morale. Survey data are being collected. This paper will significantly contribute to and advance the knowledge of organizational downsizing/restructuring by investigating the health and well-being of those who remained in the workforce. Often, these survivors are expected to 'perform' and remained productive. Besides anecdotal evidence, there is a lack of empirical findings on the effects of organizational downsizing/restructuring on workers' motivation, health and well-being.
CORRESPONSDING AUTHOR. Lew Pepper, M.D., Boston University, Department of Environmental Health, Boston, MA 02118-2394
Downsizing in Britain: A Survivors Perspective
Organisations in and around Britain continue to restructure and downsize their workforce. Redundancies and reorganisation of staff remains a major aspect of internal organisational change. However, the effects of redundancy on those who remain, the survivors, are still little understood (Armstrongstassen, 1993). This paper attempts to rectify this situation by reviewing theories principally developed in North America within a British context. In particular, the research identifies how organisational justice theories (e.g., Bies et al, 1988; Greenberg, 1990; McFarlin & Sweeney, 1992) are a means to understand the potential effects on survivors of redundancy.
The literature review is supported by empirical research which has been conducted in two major British organisations who have experienced significant downsizing and restructuring. The research aim was to explore the range of reactions; emotional, attitudinal and behavioural which were experienced by the survivors of a redundancy programme. Data was collected using a variety of methods, including focus groups, in-depth semi-structured interviews and a company wide survey in both case study organisations. The results enabled the development of a conceptual framework which extends previous understanding of the effects of redundancy on those who survive. The conceptual framework draws together the current findings with previous research in this field to formulate an overview of the factors which influence survivor reactions. Understanding survivor reactions can help to further the knowledge of the potentially damaging effects of redundancy on the future performance of an organisation.
The results indicate that organisational justice theories indeed promote the understanding of the effects of redundancy. In previous studies the emphasis has been laid on distributive and procedural justice (e.g., Daly & Geyer, 1994; Brockner & Greenberg, 1990), however, the current study highlights the importance of interactional justice. The results suggest that survivors reactions are particularly dependent on the interpersonal treatment they receive from both the management team and their immediate line manager or supervisor. Further analysis shows that the communication a survivor receives from their line manager influences their level of organisational commitment, job insecurity, job satisfaction and turnover intention. Survivors who perceived they had a �good� relationship with their line manager were less likely to react negatively to the redundancy programme. The research also indicates that survivors were influenced by their work environment and their work colleagues. The analysis found that when survivors perceived their work colleagues to react negatively to the redundancies, they were more likely to react negatively themselves.
The results of the qualitative study, also indicate significant change in the psychological contract of employment. Employees are now expected to take care of their own career management and can no longer rely on the organisation to provide opportunities for traditional advancement. However, the research indicates, that there is a distinct lack of support and guidance for employees to pursue alternative routes for career advancement.
The framework developed in this study builds on previous research and introduces new variables found to be important in the field. Further research in this area needs to take a closer look at the redefined role of the line manager and the role of social support in a redundancy situation. Secondly, further research needs to consider the changing psychological contract and its affect on career opportunities within downsized British organisations.