Original Research

Downsizing and the survivor syndrome: The South African case

Leopold Vermeulen, Retha Wiesner
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 3, No 3 | a2618 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v3i3.2618 | © 2018 Leopold Vermeulen, Retha Wiesner | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2018 | Published: 30 September 2000

About the author(s)

Leopold Vermeulen, Department of Human Resources Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Retha Wiesner, Department of Human Resource Management and Employment Relations, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to obtain empirical data about the effect of workforce reduction on "survivors" in the public (n=158) and private (n=71) sectors in South Africa. Analysis of the effects of workforce reduction indicated that downsizing affected the survivors negatively. Employee morale, staff commitment and motivation plummeted, while job dissatisfaction and concern about job security increased conspicuously. It was found that the negative effects were more prevalent in the public than the private sector. Depth and frequency of downsizing seem not to intensify the survivor syndrome.

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