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Downsizing:Reshaping the Corporation for the Future was published by Amacom (American Management Association) in 1987:
An expanded and revised paperback edition was published by Amacom in 1990:
The book has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese.
Downsizing was the first book to address an issue that has confronted and confounded large organizations for over a quarter century.
Downsizing has been a difficult process for many companies that have been through it. This has been especially true for those that have tried to balance the need for immediate cost reduction with a concern for long term effectiveness. And also for those who wanted to operate leanly, but without the need to treat their employees meanly in the process.
This book tries to stake out a middle ground between hurriedly implemented, steamroller-like cutbacks, and lingering toleration of the high costs and other evils of corporate bureaucracy. Its title, "Downsizing," is incomplete without making some reference to the purpose of the streamlining: "Reshaping the Corporation for the Future." Its main message can be summed up in eight guidelines:
- Build, don't destroy. Plan restructuring around sources of future competitive advantage, not just the elimination of today's internal problems (Chapter 3).
- Flatten the pyramid, not the headcount. Focus on minimizing the number of management levels between chief executive and first line supervisor, not just on headcount elimination (Chapter 6).
- Avoid layoffs by managing people flow. Wide scale involuntary terminations and unfocused early retirement windows have been overused as tools to cope with the talent surpluses that often result from downsizing. Instead give attention to tactics such as: targeted incentives for resignation, reemployment and redeployment programs, conversion of full-time to part-time and contractor-filled positions, temporary pay and hiring freezes, and surplus talent-based diversification (Chapter 7).
- Anticipate downsizing's downside. Managing a sharply streamlined company is quite different from running one with many management layers and staff police. New rules and different tools frequently need to be applied (Chapter 8).
- Stay streamlined. Eliminate the roots causes of excess bureaucracy: the tendency to own overhead and do everything in-house, corporate cultures based on mistrust, management-breeding compensation systems, and inabilities to share resources across organizational boundaries (Chapter 9).
- Start before you have to. Act on your schedule, not that dictated by an aggressive competitor or junk bond fueled raider. All these guidelines all require a measure of lead time to be successfully implemented (Chapters 9 and 10).
"Required reading for all managers faced with restructuring their organizations. Tomasko's recommendations strike a balance of the strategic, the practical, and the humane. His points are ones more of us have to understand as we face the tougher competitive issues of the next decade."
Lawrence L. Wallace, Vice President, Chase Manhattan Bank
"Bob Tomasko cites interesting, easy-to-read examples to espouse a management philosophy whose time has come. Downsizing is a book that should be in every executive's library."
Richard A. Maxwell, President, Corroon & Black Corporation
"An important book on an important topic... [an] artful blending of formal, operational detail with the informal, cultural aspects of real life in an organization."
Allan Kennedy, co-author Corporate Cultures; The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life
"Bob Tomasko, in the first book of its kind to my knowledge, shows succinctly how to [downsize] while simultaneously maintaining the momentum of the organization and its reputation for fairness. This simple, direct, and highly useful book is 'must' reading not only for those who must trim their organizations but also for those who wish to keep their organizations in fighting trim."
Harry Levinson, Ph.D., The Levinson Institute
"An immensely practical, tough-minded, crystal clear, and original analysis of how to make corporate structure lean and effective, with ample illustrations and attention to differences among business environments. This is an exciting and important contribution for management everywhere."
Herman D. Stein, Provost, Case Western Reserve University
"Robert Tomasko's new book persuasively makes the case for responsible downsizing that starts early, is applied selectively, and treat people fairly."
Frank P, Doyle, Senior Vice President, General Electric Company
Chapter 1. The Bulge In The Corporate Pyramid
Too Much Management, Too Many Staff
Lessons From The Pentagon
Where Did They All Come From?
Job Evaluation-Driven Bloat
One Way Career Development
Corporate Cultures Based On Mistrust
An Intolerable Situation
Emergence Of A New Philosophy Of Management
Chapter 2. Demassing: A Blunt Response
Large Scale Pruning
High Human Costs
Missing Real Problems
Revolving Door Syndrome
Creating New Problems
Blue Collarizing Middle Management
Avoiding The Body Count Mentality
Return On Management
Match Organization With Strategy
The Bottom Line: Better Performance
Chapter 4. Pinpointing Excess Staff
Corporate Staff, A New Endangered Species
Who Are "Headquarters Staff"
A Popular Villain
A Misunderstood Culprit
Some General Downsizing Guidelines For Headquarters Staff
The Difficult Job Of Evaluating Staff Performance
1. Meeting Objectives
2. Keeping To The Budget
3. Doing Better Than Before
4. Zero Based Evaluation
5. Norms and Ratios
7. Consumer Ratings
8. How Much Does It Really Cost?
Chapter 5. Managing Staff Strategically
Staff Departments Do Have Competitors
Unbundling Staff Departments
Assessing Value Added
Assessing Activity Maturity
The Strategic Turf
"Natural" vs. "Usual" Evolution
Grow Or Downsize?
Centralize Or Disperse?
The Ongoing Management of Staff Size
Chapter 6. Flattening The Pyramid
Attacking Excess Management
What Does It Cost To Manage Someone?
What Do Managers Do When They Are Managing?
How Many Management Layers Do You Really Need?
Is It Possible To Have Too Few Layers?
How Many People Can One Manager Manage?
Tactics For Stretching Spans Of Control
How Many Is Right: The Rule Of Six
Major Problem Areas
Top Management Clutter
Confusing Status With Management
Chapter 7. Layoffs And Alternatives To Layoffs
Push or Pull Strategies
Easing Pain; Lowering Costs
Alternatives To Layoffs
Well Orchestrated Size Control
Chapter 8. Running Lean
Avoiding The Cut-Over Mentality
A New Breed of General Manager
New Rules; Different Tools
Corporate Culture Built On Trust
The Lean Headquarters
Chapter 9. Staying Streamlined
Networks, Not Conglomerates
Expert Systems Instead of Experts(?)
Human Resource Planning, Not Personnel Administration
Providing Job Security: The Downsizing Paradox
Balanced Attention To All the Corporation's Constituencies
A Demographic Kicker
Chapter 10. Getting Started
Putting these ideas to work