Denise Fazio


This descriptive study explored the phenomenon of corporate downsizing as experienced by Human Resource (HR) managers who were directly involved in its implementation. It was concerned with two primary questions: First, what is the essential structure of the phenomenon of downsizing as experienced by the Human Resource (HR) managers who have been directly involved in its implementation? Second, how does this phenomenon or experience take place? Through the detailed descriptions of four corporate Human Resource managers' downsizing experiences--gathered through in-depth, face-to-face interviews--and my analysis of that data, I explicated the structure (the relationship among the most invariant constituents of the phenomenon) and meanings (implications) of those lived experiences. Though the downsizing particulars differed, the interview data revealed a structure such that, for each of the four participants as the person who had ownership for implementing the downsizing, the overall experience was one of acceptance of the business necessity for the downsizing, coupled with anticipation of its being emotionally difficult. The emotionally challenging nature of the downsizing created internal conflict in as much as each participant experienced tension between his or her professional role and responsibilities (duty to the corporation) and his or her personal values and preferences (empathy for the impact the downsizing had on staff who were terminated and the residual effect on all those who remained). This induced each participant to develop and implement a downsizing plan intended to minimize the potential harm both to the corporation and to its staff. Each participant's prior downsizing experience engendered confidence he or she could do what was necessary despite its being difficult, though this did not obviate their need for recovery afterward.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organization change; Personnel management; Downsizing of organizations

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Kur, Ed