Original Research

Survivor syndrome: Effects on middle managers in South Africa

R. Wiesner, L. P. Vermeulen, C. R. Littler
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 2, No 3 | a2587 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v2i3.2587 | © 2018 R. Wiesner, L. P. Vermeulen, C. R. Littler | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 July 2018 | Published: 30 September 1999

About the author(s)

R. Wiesner, Department of Human Resource Management and Employment Relations, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
L. P. Vermeulen, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
C. R. Littler, Department of Human Resource Management, Queensland University of Technology, South Africa

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Abstract

The impact of organisational downsizing on employees who remain has been the subject of intense research, particularly in the USA. The issue of so-called survivor syndrome is critically important in relation to productivity growth and the success of restructuring. However, current conceptualisation has been based largely on American research. There has been little data on downsizing in the South African context. The purpose of this article is to discuss the extent of survivor syndrome in organisations that have restructured and downsized in South Africa. We ask the questions: does downsizing inevitably result in high levels of survivor syndrome; which factors intensify and modify survivor syndrome; and is there a restructuring cycle? The database constitutes 421 South African organisations.

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