Healing the Wounds (Magill Book Reviews)
Layoffs have become an increasingly common part of business life, as competitive pressures force companies to downsize, restructure, or merge. Many firms have done a good job supporting departing employees, with services like counseling and outplacement. Yet little is done for those who stay behind, the survivors who are expected to revitalize the organization. Shaken by the experience of seeing valued coworkers suddenly lose their jobs, survivors are confused, fearful, and unable to lose an unhealthy and unreciprocated organizational dependency—a widespread emotional state that consultant David Noer labels “layoff survivor sickness.”
What is at issue is nothing less than a fundamental change in the relationship between individuals and organizations. Both sides need to develop more entrepreneurial and less dependent connections; the first step is recognizing that layoff-survivor sickness debilitates them. Since the sickness is not well understood, the first half of the book explains its pathology, including a discussion of the end of job security, the emotional effects, and case studies from actual companies.
A four-level intervention model is proposed to reestablish healthy, productive relationships between employees and employers. Level 1 deals with managing the layoff process, while level 2 interventions facilitate the necessary grieving. Level 3 applies the concept of codependency to organizations, to break the codependency chain and...
(The entire section is 303 words.)
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