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Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations by David M. Noer

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2.2. From Nurturing to Violence: The Symbolism of Layoff Language

The symbolism of layoff language patterns provides powerful evidence of a paradigm shift. I began an ongoing research process by partnering with a manager investigating the language patterns within her own layoff environment.

2.2.1. Semantic Sensing

Sally, a human resource manager, was convinced that "no one [was] talking about development" anymore in her organization after layoffs were planned. She and I decided to test that feeling. For two weeks, Sally kept track of both "nurturing" and "violent" phrases. She jotted them down during group meetings and after one-on-one meetings. She captured hallway talk during a half-day top management planning meeting. The outcome? Violent ...

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