Date of this Version


Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Details

James B. Shaw and Elain Barrett-Power (1995) A Stress Coping-Based Approach to Organization, Work Group and Individual Effectiveness after Downsizing

School of Business Discussion Paper ; No. 58, Jul. 1995

© Copyright James B. Shaw, Elain Barrett-Power and the School of Business, Bond University


The need for a unified, cross-level (organization, work group, individual employee) model of organizational downsizing has been suggested by several authors (e.g., Kozlowski et al., 1993). The definition of "downizing," in terms applicable only at the organization level, prevents researchers from developing a more cohesive view of the impact of downsizing for the organization, work groups and individuals. In this paper, we define downsizing more broadly as a constellation of stressor events centering around pressures toward work force reductions which place demands upon the organization, work groups, and individual employees, and require a process of coping and adaptation. This stress-based view of downsizing allows researchers to develop concepts to guide research on downsizing that are more broadly applicable across levels of analysis. To show the advantages of this stress-based view of downsizing, this paper uses concepts from the stress coping literature to identify a set of critical dependent variables that should be studied in downsizing research. We argue that these variables are aplicable for organization, group, and individual employee-level research.