Perceptions of Discrimination During Downsizing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Effects of layoffs on employees—both stayers and leavers—have been studied extensively, but very little research has been conducted on layoff effects on ethnically diverse employee populations nor on discrimination during layoffs. This case study begins with a set of interviews to uncover employee perceptions of ethnic discrimination during a “voluntary” downsizing process. Themes identified in the interviews include issues that co-occur with complaints of ethnic discrimination: perceptions of selection fairness and information accessibility. A subsequent survey examines the relationships between ethnic discrimination and these two variables. Results of the study demonstrate that perceptions of ethnic discrimination are moderately correlated with perceptions of selection fairness and information access during the layoff process. Also, in the company examined, both minority and majority ethnic group members felt equally discriminated against. Findings are discussed in light of current research on the continuing lack of upward mobility for minority employees and implications for layoff planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-180
Number of pages23
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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