Restoring Workplace Communication Networks after Downsizing: The Effects of Time on Information Flow and Turnover Intentions

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One of the effects of a corporate layoff is the interruption of communication networks for employees who remain in the workplace. Since information that passes along these informal networks is part of the lifeblood of any workplace, remaining employees struggle to reestablish network connections after a layoff is completed. Access to information and their status as a central point in a network are key elements in workers' satisfaction with their work situation, and as such have a strong influence on turnover intentions. This study measured pre- and post-downsizing information flow and post-downsizing turnover intentions of downsizing survivors in the corporate office of an international hotel company. Using a combination of network analysis and path analysis, the study examined the relationship between changes in downsizing survivors' "betweenness" centrality (that is, the extent to which information transmits through them) and perceptions of information adequacy relative to reported turnover intentions at two months after the layoffs and at four months. The study found that an increase in network members' centrality augmented their perceptions of information adequacy, which in turn reduced their turnover intentions. The study also found that turnover intentions diminished at some point between two and four months after the layoff, in conjunction with stabilization of the communication network. While the study's population is relatively small (97 individuals), the implications are clear that managers should consider ways to assist remaining employees establish communication pathways after a corporate downsizing.
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corporate layoffs; human resources; downsizing; communication
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