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The workforce adjustment strategies used by workplaces in Britain during the Great Recession

The workforce adjustment strategies used by workplaces in Britain during the Great Recession The purpose of this paper is to provide a human resource management perspective of the workforce adjustment strategies implemented at workplaces in Britain in response to the Great Recession.Design/methodology/approachThe analysis uses an ordered probit and a series of binomial probits to examine a micro data set from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study.FindingsNot all workplaces were affected equally by the recession. Not all workplaces chose to implement workforce adjustment strategies consequential of the recession, although the probability of a workplace taking no action decreased the greater the adverse effect of the recession on the workplace. Most workplaces used a combination of workforce adjustment strategies. Workplaces implemented strategies more compatible with labour hoarding than labour shedding, i.e., cutting/freezing wages and halting recruitment to fill vacant posts rather than making employees redundant.Research limitations/implicationsWhat was examined was the incidence of the workforce adjustment strategies, not the number of employees affected by the implementation of a strategy. Further, what was examined were outcomes. What is not known are the processes by which these outcomes were arrived at.Originality/valueThis paper concurs with the findings of previous economic studies that workplaces hoarded labour, cut hours and lowered pay. In so doing, however, it provides a more detailed and more informed human resource management perspective of these adjustment strategies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship Emerald Publishing

The workforce adjustment strategies used by workplaces in Britain during the Great Recession

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2049-3983
DOI
10.1108/ebhrm-06-2018-0038
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a human resource management perspective of the workforce adjustment strategies implemented at workplaces in Britain in response to the Great Recession.Design/methodology/approachThe analysis uses an ordered probit and a series of binomial probits to examine a micro data set from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study.FindingsNot all workplaces were affected equally by the recession. Not all workplaces chose to implement workforce adjustment strategies consequential of the recession, although the probability of a workplace taking no action decreased the greater the adverse effect of the recession on the workplace. Most workplaces used a combination of workforce adjustment strategies. Workplaces implemented strategies more compatible with labour hoarding than labour shedding, i.e., cutting/freezing wages and halting recruitment to fill vacant posts rather than making employees redundant.Research limitations/implicationsWhat was examined was the incidence of the workforce adjustment strategies, not the number of employees affected by the implementation of a strategy. Further, what was examined were outcomes. What is not known are the processes by which these outcomes were arrived at.Originality/valueThis paper concurs with the findings of previous economic studies that workplaces hoarded labour, cut hours and lowered pay. In so doing, however, it provides a more detailed and more informed human resource management perspective of these adjustment strategies.

Journal

Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical ScholarshipEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 15, 2019

Keywords: Labour hoarding; Work-sharing; Labour-shedding; Workplace Employee Relations Survey

References