Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Publication date: 1 February 2000


This paper proposes that the development of a layoff policy gives an organization a competitive advantage over organizations without such a policy. How an organization communicates concern to employees is often through procedures and policies developed by the human resource department. Survey questionnaires were mailed to 1,400 vice presidents of human resources that held membership and whose names were provided through the Society of Human Resource Management. Over half of the organizations surveyed (57%) did not have layoff policies. By type of organization, healthcare had the greatest number of policies in their organizations with 70% affirming their existence. The study concludes with the following five proposed reasons why layoff policies do not exist: (1) “It can't happen here” syndrome (2) The cover‐up syndrome (3) If you plan for it, people will panic, (4) Managers are trained to focus on growth and to avoid decline, (5) There would be loss of control, and accompanying organizational sabotage, and (6) More policies equal less humane treatment.


Smith, P.C.(P). and Walker, J.W. (2000), "LAYOFF POLICIES AS A COMPETITIVE EDGE", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 132-145.

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