Chapter 16: Trust and Engagement in a Downsizing Context: The Impact on Human Resource Managers
Finian Buckley INTRODUCTION: HRM IN A RECESSION CONTEXT The impact of economic cycles is a significant factor in understanding the efficacy and appropriateness of human resource management (HRM) practices within organizations (Lahteenmaki et al., 2006). For instance, evidence from organizations facing the recessionary climate following the Asian financial crisis in 1997 indicates that HRM practices shift considerably as a response to economic contraction and that once-diverse human resource (HR) bundles become more limited and primarily focused on improved productivity (Benson and Debroux, 2004). While it may appear intuitive that the HRM function declines in importance when employee numbers contract in a recessionary context, the paradoxical contention, which suggests that in this very context the HRM function becomes a strategic driver of an organization’s future viability, has gained support (Greer and Ireland, 1992). The influence of the HRM function in lean times appears to be key when the HR strategy is aligned with firm strategic intent and is sensitive to internal as well as external needs (for example, Boxall and Purcell, 2004; Chadwick et al., 2004). It would be simplistic to overplay the influence of the role of the HRM function and appropriate HR practices as a key to firm success when managing through a recessionary climate, as research indicates that a host of exogenous and endogenous factors interact to influence firm adjustment (Datta et al., 2010). However, when a firm decides to reduce staffing through downsizing, the role played by the HR function appears to be pivotal in terms of...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.