03 février 2012 – The effects of downsizing on R&D Creativity: A literature Review

Over the past couple of decades, employee downsizing has become an integral part of organizational life (Datta ,Guthrie, Basuil and Pandey 2010). However, most of the studies have focused on the organizational outcomes such as performance and/or productivity at the individual and organizational levels. Specially, very few empirical studies have directly explored the potential of the link between downsizing and slack reduction. Although interest in this area has recently intensified, management scholars have not reached a consensus on whether and how downsizing affects innovation and creativity. Moreover, an important limitation of existent research is the overreliance on static, cross-sectional design and a lack of differentiation among contexts.

Thus, little is known about the effects of downsizing in the creativity of teams over time, in the specific context of R&D. It is unclear how downsizing through slack reduction affects creativity, how R&D teams cope with a reduction in human, financial, space and process slack, how slack reduction interacts with internal and individual configurations to hinder or to allow creativity , how team’s cope with lost linkages, role and positional changes, and the need to form new linkages following downsizing events.

Using those premises as a starting-point and drawing on two cases studies of companies that have downsized R&D, this paper seeks to understand the longitudinal effects of downsizing, (conceptualized as an attempt to reduce slack) on R&D team’s creativity within the innovation processes over time.

Natalia Bobadilla, Doctorante (Gregor-IAE de Paris) Chercheur-intervenant au club d’experts de la R&D Entreprise et Personnel

Caris Kindler- Mathieu,  Consultante RH- Expertise, DCNS