Two field studies tested the hypothesis that high perceived control may serve as an antidote to the negative effects of layoffs on the employees who are not laid off (survivors). In Study 1, some participants witnessed the layoffs of fellow employees, but others did not. In Study 2, all participants survived a layoff, but they varied in the extent to which they experienced the post-layoff environment as threatening to their well-being. Conceptually analogous results emerged across the two studies. Study 1 showed that the negative impact of layoffs on survivors' organizational commitment was reduced when perceived control was relatively high. Study 2 showed that the tendency for survivors' job performance to be adversely affected by high threat to their well-being was reduced when perceived control was relatively high. In other words, perceived control was more strongly related to employees' organizational commitment in the presence than in the absence of layoffs and to survivors' job performance when they experienced the post-layoff environment as more threatening. These findings account for additional variance in the reactions of layoff survivors and identify when perceived control will be more versus less strongly related to employees' work attitudes and behaviors. Practical implications for the management of organizational downsizings are discussed.
Brockner, Joel, Gretchen Spreitzer, Aneil Mishra, Wayne Hochwarter, Lewis Pepper, and Janice Weinberg. "Perceived Control as an Antidote to the Negative Effects of Layoffs on Survivors' Organizational Commitment and Job Performance." Administrative Science Quarterly 49, no. 1 (March 2004): 76-100.
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