Understanding Survivors' Reactions to Downsizing in China

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Purpose - Using an organizational justice framework, this paper aims to examine survivors' attitudinal and behavioral correlates to downsizing in Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Design/methodology/approach - The authors conducted one qualitative study involving personal interviews and one quantitative study involving structured surveys to develop an understanding of the phenomenon. Findings - The studies revealed that justice-enhancing managerial practices were associated with survivors' evaluations of their outcomes after the downsizing, which in turn, were related to survivors' positive attitudinal and behavioral reactions. Research implications/limitations - The findings suggest that organizational justice provides a useful avenue for understanding survivors' perspectives in the downsizing context in China. However, retrospective, cross-sectional data were used. Future research might investigate causality in the downsizing process by using a quasi-experimental design. Practical implications - Managerial practices that address the relational aspects of organizational justice (informational and interpersonal justice) can serve as effective downsizing strategies in China. Originality/value - The studies are among the first to explore survivors' perspectives of downsizing from a micro-level, organizational justice perspective in China. They contribute to the organizational justice literature by examining the relative importance of various justice perceptions in a collectivist culture.