In order to answer to these severe challenges majority of the organizations are forced to cut costs In order to “boost” their performance; yet instead of seriously examining the options, they are primarily doing it through downsizing (Denis and Shame, 2005; Guthrie and Data, 2008). Therefore, even though human resources are widely recognized as the most Important value-add asset and the critical resource for overcoming the crisis, they are usually In the first line to be cut when crisis knocks on the door.
Despite the fact that lay-off have become the fact of organizational life over the sat few decades, the great recession has made the rate of lay-offs take extreme proportions and made the unemployment rate an Issue number one worldwide (Data et al, 2010). It can be argued that the excessive downsizing approach is not the appropriate way of absorbing the shock of crisis, since it is bound to have serious repercussions on working conditions and behavior of the employees who stayed in the organization- the “survivors” (Icemaker-Mueller and Lila, 2006).
For Instance, according to Matures and Figurers (2010) the survivors are most Likely to suffer from read Job insecurity long after the critical events took place. Adding to its importance, the Job insecurity is widely recognized as an extreme work-related stresses and therefore affects the attitudes and behavior of employees. More often than not the stress and pressure are the cause of workplace bullying which includes physical, verbal or psychological Intimidation (Bartlett et al, 2011).
Bullying may include various types of behavior such us: yelling, gossiping, false accusations. Personal Jokes, threatening etc. And all of them undoubtedly have active impact on employees’ health and well being (D]uric et al. , 2005; Aggrieved, 2007; Bailing et al. , 2009). Some of the consequences of these behaviors are additional stress, chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and various types of psychological issues (depression, PETS and even suicidal thoughts) (Johnson, 2009; pace and smith, 2009; Wildfire, 2009).
According to Removal (2009), besides higher Job insecurity and stress, downsizing caused by crisis can also lead to” .. Less teamwork, heavier workloads and sense of being less valued” (p. 24). Likewise, both Moral (2009) and Mullah (2008) agreed upon the fact that employee reduction is rarely followed by decrease in workload and 1 OFF working noirs; as a matter AT Tact, ten workload Ana work noirs usually Increases since fewer people have to perform the same amount of tasks.
Moreover, this fact has been confirmed by both French and European survey of working conditions, although they were conducted long before the great economic crisis of 2008 (Cartoon & Global, 2002; Bastard et al. , 2003). As a result, pressure and stress put on the rest of the employees are increasing further and reversely affect their emotional and hysterical state negatively. Interestingly enough, even before the great recession, downsizing, long working hours and great work intensity have been identified as huge problems for majority of employees (White el al, 2004; Webb, 2004).
Therefore, it can rightly be argued that these working conditions got worse or even extreme after the economic crisis occurred. Although the literature is scarce concerning this issue, some evidence that can support this fact do exist. Namely, according to a study conducted in a banking sector of Pakistan, employees who worked both before and after the crisis have ported that the recession influenced their workload, motivation, Job security and levels of stress in a negative way (Cabal and Meir, 2011).
Furthermore, according to WAS Report (2010), almost 40% of the respondents have confirmed that the great recession has extremely worsened the working conditions in their organizations. Finally, the study conducted in the UK with over 2000 participants (employees) has displayed more specific changes in the working environment. For instance, 50% of respondents reported feeling more anxious than before the crisis, 38% have felt the increase in Job insecurity and 20% have reported being sick due to increased stress at work (Unloaded, 2009).
Still, the question of whether all of these changes (extreme downsizing, higher Job insecurity, extreme work-related stress, bullying etc) in organizations have made the working conditions reach the extreme point or not is not yet supported by clear evidence and literature. On the one hand, the very fact that these working conditions are severely affecting employees health and quality of life can most certainly be considered as extreme (Bartlett, 2011).