The paradox of managerial downsizing

Littler, Craig R. and Innes, Peter (2004) The paradox of managerial downsizing. Organization Studies, 25 7: 1159-1184. doi:10.1177/0170840604046314

Author Littler, Craig R.
Innes, Peter
Title The paradox of managerial downsizing
Journal name Organization Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0170-8406
Publication date 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0170840604046314
Volume 25
Issue 7
Start page 1159
End page 1184
Total pages 26
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
350201 Human Resources Management
780107 Studies in human society
Abstract Delayering and the flattening of organizational hierarchies was a widespread trend through the 1990s. Peters (1992) in the USA promoted flattening as an organizational strategy and Keuning and Opheij (1994) promoted the prescriptions in Europe. Despite these strategies and apparent structural changes, the number and ratio of managers appears to have grown. This paradox of managerial downsizing has not been adequately probed in the literature. The predominant explanation, that there has been a 'myth of managerial downsizing', is associated with Gordon (1996). However, this debate has been shaped by the US experience and data. There is a need to reassess the dynamics of the 1990s in relation to other economies. This article focuses on a semi-peripheral economy, that of Australia. A study of the population of firms over time is necessary in order to resolve the issues. The article utilizes a comprehensive range of data, including several national surveys and a longitudinal database of all larger private-sector firms in Australia during the 1990s. The results indicate that the 'myth of managerial downsizing' must be rejected. There were dramatic effects on managers through the course of the 1990s in larger Australian firms. The dynamics of the process are analysed, tracking 4,153 firms across the decade and the paradox explained. The theoretical implications are discussed.
Keyword Management
Organizational Downsizing
Administrative Intensity
Middle Managers
Declining Organizations
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
UQ Business School Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 29 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 31 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:23:34 EST