Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Godwin Igein

Abstract

Millions of Americans were terminated from their employment in massive layoffs in 2013, which not only created outrage among employees. but also opened the door for retaliatory lawsuits. However, profitable companies are still engaged in restructuring and layoffs, which have a negative effect on employees, managers, and survivors. Such actions create mistrust in management and continue to plague the workforce and the economy. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the impacts that layoffs and downsizing have on employees' trust, work performance, behavior, and health. Informed by Sarker's theory on management and employee trust, the research questions explored participants' work attitudes and performances after layoffs had taken place. Twenty participants, both managers and workers who were laid off or who had survived layoffs, took part in semistructured interviews. The data were coded and analyzed using comparative analysis. The results showed (a) most employees do not trust management, (b) stress and low morale were the most common effects from layoffs, and (c) employee productivity was limited during and after the downsizing process. The study can contribute to positive social change by identifying ways for company leaders to manage impacts of layoffs and implement effective organizational communication strategies that may result in reduced stress for laid off employees and a more productive work environment for surviving employees and managers.