A national population sample of 424 employees was used to explore the proposition that the widespread use of organizational downsizing by management has led employees to adopt a more instrumental orientation to the employment relationship. Contrary to predictions, employees who had never worked in a downsized firm (Controls), or who had been made redundant as a result of downsizing (Victims), reported stronger instrumentalist beliefs than those who had experienced at least one downsizing but had never been made redundant (Survivors). Employees who had experienced more downsizings were also more likely to report lower instrumentalism, by disagreeing with statements suggesting that work is a necessary evil, just something that has to be done in order to earn a living, and that money is the most important reason for having a job. The findings are discussed in the context of reactance theory and instrumentalism as a malleable socialized work attitude.
Macky, K. (2006). Organizational downsizing and the instrumental worker: Is there a connection? (Massey University. Department of Management and International Business Research Working Paper Series 2006, no. 1). Palmerston North, NZ: Massey University. Department of Management and International Business.