Companies like Waterford Crystal talk about ‘root and branch restructuring’. In this image, the senior executives are like expert tree surgeons, tending to a frail and endangered conifer. Only by a drastic pruning programme -and copious quantities of manure- can the tree stand. The costly employees are like canker.

2 Responses to “Cuts”

  1. 1 Tomaltach November 1, 2007 at 11:15 am

    I once worked in a company that laid off 1/3 of the workforce in sweeping cuts. Admittedly serious cuts were required as the company was a financial disaster, making heavy losses with no sigh of improvement in the medium term. What was noticeable however was how bottom heavy the cuts were. No senior management were fired despite now having 1/3 less activity and people to manage. A small number of projects’ managers were booted out but really, nothing above that. It was extraordinary – those of us who remained must of been the most heavily managed group of workers on the planet.

    Incidentally, one of the senior managers presided over a business unit which made really spectacular losses over a period of 5 years following the cuts. He was duly rewarded with a massive chunk of shares (300 times more than the average employee was given) when the company changed its ownership base. The idea was to incentivise the senior management team!

  2. 2 Hugh Green November 1, 2007 at 11:45 am

    That sounds pretty extreme, but unsurprising. Private firms project an image -internally and externally- of being a team, a family, or whatever, with a common purpose. This obscures (roughly speaking) an exploitative relation between the manager grouping and subordinate, but as long as profitability is adequate, everyone can accept this. However, once the vultures start circling, it’s pas de lieu Rhone que nous for the subordinates, but senior manager socialism.

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