Source: Sally Coleman Selden, Review of Public Personnel Administration, December 2006, Vol. 26 no. 4
Although several studies have looked at voluntary turnover in public organizations, little research has examined involuntary turnover and average time to terminate employees in public organizations. This study focuses on the impact of a state’s discipline system on its use and rapidity of discharge of state employees. Results show that factors associated with utilization of dismissal of state employees differ from factors associated with how quickly states terminate employees. This study shows that states adopting at-will employment are no more likely to fire employees than states with civil service employment systems are, but they do terminate employment relationships more quickly.
Source: Julius Getman, Perspectives on Work, Summer 2006, Volume 10, no. 1
… Despite the positive role large unionized companies play in American society, a fundamental conflict exists between the short-term financial focus of many in the investment and management communities and the longer-term focus of others, including employees who value job security and long-term investors who seek consistent growth. Conflicts over corporate control revolve around this tension. From a strategic union perspective, developing an action plan around making large companies more accountable to employees and other stakeholders, including long-term shareholders, must involve a number of new approaches.
Given the track record of labor’s success in trying new approaches, we have our work cut out for us. Still, unions represent employees in nearly 80 percent of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States. Perhaps more significant is the fact that nearly half the assets in American equity markets are held by the pension funds and savings plans of organized workers and union-represented employers. Taken together, unions have the potential to exert considerable leverage on capital markets.
Source: Jody Hoffer Gittell, Perspectives on Work, Summer 2006, Volume 10, no. 1
Layoffs often make sense from a traditional management perspective as a way to weather the storm by adjusting supply to demand. When demand drops, managers often reduce supply and lay off excess workers to avoid paying them when revenues are insufficient to cover costs.
Another perspective, however, stresses that high-performance work systems (which produce value for workers, managers, and investors) require loyalty and commitment in order to work effectively. According to this view, managers should seek to avoid layoffs when demand falls. Furthermore, if relationships help individuals and organizations bounce back from a crisis, then it is important to avoid harming relationships at such a critical time. From this perspective, layoffs are a problem, not a solution.