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

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7.1. "Clean Kills" and the Survivor Hygiene Factor

Frederick Herzberg (1964) developed a motivational theory that divides motivational factors into those that do motivate (such as satisfaction with the work itself) and those that simply keep employees from becoming demotivated (such as pay and working conditions). Herzberg calls the latter "hygiene factors." Level 1 interventions are the layoff equivalent of Herzberg's hygiene factors: they do not cure survivor sickness, but they blunt its symptoms and permit a more rapid recovery. When I explained this concept to a battle-weary manager who was planning yet another round of layoffs, he summed up my elegant theory by saying, "You mean a clean kill is better than a messy one!" Despite the violent ...

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