Reorganization

Reshaping firms: Downsizing, Reorganizing, Intervening

In good times and bad, firms regularly reshape themselves. Firms may re-align organization structure with strategy and changed external circumstances (Puranam & Gulati 2009), intervene to stimulate specific activities (Okhuysen and Eisenhardt 2002), or downsize during challenging times (Dougherty & Bowman 1995). While firms often reshape during growth, mature firms also frequently re-shape. Strategy and organization design issues are increasingly intertwined, particularly where they involve key activities such as innovation (Gandolfi & Oster 2010). While reshaping firms (e.g., changing structure or size) is both important and frequent, it is also relatively understudied. Moreover, extant research (e.g., on downsizing) typically focuses on traditional outcomes (e.g., profits) with less emphasis on such things as collaboration, knowledge creation and innovation at the individual or team levels.  My research on this theme brings together research on antecedents, processes and consequences associated with organizational reshaping.  It combines diverse theoretical and methodological approaches targeting single or multiple organizational levels.

Some examples of prior work on the topic includes:

  • Aalbers, H.L.. (2019) Rewiring the Intrafirm Network under Downsizing: The Role of Tie Loss on Discretionary Tie Formation,  Long Range Planning, forthcoming
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2019). Resilience of Information Flow during Restructuring: Characterizing Information Value being Exchanged and the Structure of a Network under Turmoil Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business Research, forthcoming
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Philippou P. (2017). The Executioner’s Dilemma: Explaining role stress by ethical conflict among those that carry out a downsizing event, pp.217-235, in Adriaanse and van der Rest (2017) Companion to Turnaround Management and Bankruptcy, Routledge.
  • Aalbers, H.L. (2017). Discretionary tie formation under individual-level uncertainty, DRUID conference 2017, June, New York, USA
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Smit, S. (2017). An ERGM model on network dynamics under uncertainty, Sunbelt, June, Beijing, China
  • Aalbers, H.L. (2017). Discretionary tie formation under individual-level uncertainty, Sunbelt, June, Beijing, China
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Gooyert, V. (2017). System dynamics and the timing of downsizing, International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, May, Portugal
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2015). Corporate Downsizing and network evolution. Paper presented at Imperial College London Research Seminar Series, March, London, UK.
  • Aalbers, H.L. (2014). Keynote on organization restructuring in the face of bankruptcy at the Turnaround Management Association, Dutch Chapter, Fall year event – ABN AMRO
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2014). Individual Resilience Despite Corporate Downsizing: Positioning in the Formal Network. Paper presented at EGOS 2014, July, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2014). Springing back or veering in: the organization network consequences of downsizing. Paper presented at the 2014 Strategic Management Society, June, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2014). Springing back or veering in: the organization network consequences of downsizing. Paper presented at the 2014 DRUID conference and included in Conference Proceedings, June, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2014). Individual Resilience Despite Corporate Downsizing: Positioning in the Formal Network. Paper presented at the 2014 Strategic Management Society, June, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W.A. (2014). Individual Resilience Despite Corporate Downsizing: Positioning in the Formal and Informal Network. Paper presented at the Organization Science Winter Conference, February, Steamboat, Colorado, USA.
  • Aalbers, H.L and Dolfsma, W.A. (2013). Corporate Downsizing and Positioning In The Formal And Informal Network. presented at the Academy of Management 2013, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA.
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W. (2013). Innovation in the Wake of Corporate Downsizing IPDM, Paris, France
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W. (2013). Innovation Resilience Despite Corporate Downsizing: Positioning in the Formal and Informal Network, Sunbelt, May, Hamburg, Germany
  • Aalbers, H.L and Dolfsma, W. (2012). Innovation Resilience Following Corporate Downsizing. Paper accepted for presentation at the Academy of Management 2012, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Aalbers, H.L. and Dolfsma, W. (2012). Intra-Organizational Innovation Networks under Corporate Downsizing Information. Paper accepted for presentation at the International Sunbelt Social Network Conference 2012, March, Redondo Beach, California, USA.
  • Hosting of the subtheme Reshaping firms as a research track during the EGOS international conference, held in Rotterdam, together with James P. Guthrie, The University of Kansas, USA, andWilfred Dolfsma, Loughborough University, UK.

Furthermore I organized a number of research tracks at research conferences such as EGOS and DRUID around the topic of downsizing and corporate restructuring and individual seminars and methodical trainings at a.o. Radboud, University de Montpellier, Tokyo Tech, and the National University of Ireland.

I also chair the Radboud Centre for Corporate Restructuring  over the past 7 years as an active platform on the topic of restructuring, holding active working relations with the business community on the topic with companies such as Deloitte, BDO, ING, PWC, Beaufort Corporate Consulting and Philips.

by Rick Aalbers, PhD