Delivering bad news

Communications during a downsizing process are never easy, but must be managed for the good of all involved.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the prevalence of employee reductions as a commonly used managerial tool to increase productivity and strengthen corporate efficiency and competitiveness in both public and private sector organisations. However, a variety of studies illustrate how downsizing not only has negative implications for the downsized but also seem to contain destructive elements for the survivors, having pervasive impact on their subsequent communication networks, perceptions and attitudes. Therefore, before managers or communicators embark on the difficult task of handling the downsizing, it is pivotal to have a thorough understanding of the different aspects and pitfalls of the process.

Helle Kryger Aggerholm

Helle Kryger Aggerholm is an associate professor and head of the corporate communication section at Aarhus University, Denmark. As well as her teaching responsibilities, she has published several articles in Danish and English on subjects such as corporate social responsibility, crisis communications and change processes.