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Researcher awarded for study into organisational downsizing

Wednesday, 06 June 2012

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Dr Helen Sitlington, lecturer and researcher in the School of Management, has been acknowledged in the 2012 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, with her paper being chosen as a Highly Commended Award Winner.

The paper, ‘Do downsizing decisions affect organisational knowledge and performance?’, was published in the journal Management Decision in2011. It examines the impact of downsizing and restructuring processes on organisational knowledge retention, with a comparison between organisations that have ‘successfully’ and ‘unsuccessfully’ downsized or restructured.

Little previous research has considered the impact of downsizing on knowledge retention. Dr Sitlington’s research included data collection from many respondents in a large range of organisations, through a survey and focus groups.

The findings indicate that organisations undertaking downsizing or restructuring need to take more consideration for the potential impact their initiatives may have on future performance. The loss of experienced employees will result in the depletion of information that may need to be referenced in the future.

If knowledge retention is to be maximised during downsizing, support strategies such as counselling and training are important. Additionally, so is job re-design, employee handover, and time for documentation of procedures.

To ensure an effective transition, employee experiences during this time also need to be constructive, and take into account the unique culture and climate of the organisation.

More information

Contact Dr Helen Sitlington for more information on her research.

Phone: (61 8) 6304 5280
Email: h.sitlington@ecu.edu.au

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