Breaking up without breaking down? : A case study on the communication of withdrawal with a period of notice in an economic downturn, pitfalls and remedies.

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet; Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet


It has been difficult lately, in the wake of the global financial crisis, to open any given newspaper without finding proof of organizational decline – companies laying off personnel or closing down. The reasons for this action are of course many but the fact that it is never going to be easy to notice an individual and co-worker remains.


The purpose for this research was to; “explore how organisational downsize has been communicated, how the situation is perceived and how the change has affected subjective work motivation among employees and managers”, something which we approached by utilizing a qualitative case study through interviews and an abductive research approach.


The result indicates incongruent opinions between managers and workers as to what had been communicated as well as the extent to which sufficient information about the impending RIF had been provided. There was no sign of general attitude deterioration as a result of the reorganization but there was evidence of a slight decline in motivation for one of the respondents. As to the communication climate there was consensus that vertical communication could easily be undertaken, in either direction.




Keywords: notice, communication, downsize, management, RIF, motivation, trust.


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