Learning while downsizing LO21866

Roy Benford (roy@benford.demon.co.uk)
Tue, 08 Jun 1999 16:19:01 +0100

Replying to LO21836 --


I see two aspects to this situation and I feel that they need to be
addressed seperately.

Firstly, there is your position with regard to this change. I take a view
of coping with change has a lot of similarities to grieving. Elizabeth
Kubler Ross has written an excellent short book titled "On Death and
Dying" which lists five stages: Denial & Isolation, Anger, Bargaining,
Depression, and finally Acceptance. Your use of the word "our" implies to
me that you may not have completed your grieving for your loss of position
with the company. Furthermore, there are some indications of Bargaining
in your continuing relationship with the company.

Secondly, there is the issue of the company. In my reading of
Organisational Learning, I came across a case study by Georges Romme of a
Dutch company called Endenburg, also a family business. The owner
introduced a circular form of organising that maximised participation by
the workforce and also intriduced decision making by consent. Well, one
day the unfortunate happened and they lost one of their major customers
that account for about 30% of turnover. The management team drew up plans
for downsizing. The workers threaten with redundancy put forward an
alternative approach based upon them learning marketing skills and finding
replacment customers. Well, the management team agreed to release
financial reserves to try the approach. It worked for Endenburg, but then
they had the infrastructure already in place and a culture of an empowered
workforce. Later, when the owner MD retired, the management team elected
the new MD.

A couple of views but no answers.

Good luck.

Roy Benford
Fulmer, UK


Roy Benford <roy@benford.demon.co.uk>

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