Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's February 2001

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According to a 1997 survey by the American Management Association (AMA), the most often claimed reasons for downsizing are "organizational restructuring,"� "business downturn,"� and "reengineering of business processes."� Downsizing has adversely affected 43 million jobs since 1980. Many organizations are realizing that downsizing may not be the best solution for reducing costs. The time and money it takes to train employees often make downsizing a wasteful procedure. By changing their business strategy, companies can find ways to maintain their workforce. Many organizations are now looking for alternatives to downsizing that allow them to save their employees, which are now seen as large assets.

Downsizing of staff is often undertaken when an organization needs to quickly improve its profits. A company under siege (or claiming to be) takes a look at its largest expense typically payroll and benefits and starts slashing. Many accounts exist that depict the sad consequences of worker displacement: the breakup of families, the loss of homes, and the blow to self-esteem from which the downsized never recover.

Some researchers go so far as to describe the downsized worker as clinically traumatized, comparing the experience of downsizing as "similar to that of other trauma: death, combat, abuse, violence, natural catastrophe, crime, chemical dependence"¦disease and terrorism"� (Bumbaugh 30). The most well-known of these is a seven-part series published by The New York Times entitled "The Downsizing of America."� This series of articles (since enlarged and published as a book with the same title) was the largest set of related articles printed by the paper since it covered the Watergate scandal. Some proponents of downsizing claim that the media has distorted the statistics on the number of people downsized, their fate and the impact on their former workplaces. The New York Times series has especially been attacked for too freely...