Surviving Repeated Waves Of Organizational Downsizing: The Recency, Duration, And Order Effects Associated With Different Forms Of Layoff Contact

Sarah Moore, University of Puget Sound
Leon Grunberg, University of Puget Sound
Edward Greenberg


In this paper we examine: (1) recency and duration effects of layoff contact; and (2) the order effects associated with different types of layoff contact experiences. Workers employed by a large company engaged in repeated waves of downsizing completed questionnaires in 1997, 1999, and 2003. Using data only from workers who experienced indirect or direct layoff contact at each time period (N = 460), we found some evidence that recent direct experiences were associated with significant group differences for intent to quit and depression. There was also some evidence to suggest that a single direct layoff experience still affected workers' levels of job security, even when this experience occurred some 6 years prior to the Time 3 measurement. The largest within-group changes in scores over time were typically found among workers experiencing an indirect experience followed by a direct experience, suggesting that the order of events impacted worker job security, intent to quit, and depression. For workers experiencing back-to-back direct downsizing, the rate of decline slowed for depression. These findings are examined in light of the stress vulnerability and resiliency hypotheses.