Developing effective interventions for mitigating the psychological impact experienced by a redundancy envoy during redundancy situations

  • Madeleine Petzer

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis provides an analysis and evaluation of the development of effective
interventions for alleviating the psychological impact experienced by redundancy
envoys. Redundancy envoys for this purpose included management, employee
collective representatives and HR professionals with roles specific to the
implementation of the redundancy process.
The aim of this study is to investigate the key stressors for redundancy envoys, identify
the idiosyncrasy of redundancy envoys, explore the best coping methodologies
deployed by redundancy envoys and finally to identify the best strategies to alleviate
the negative psychological impact for redundancy envoys.
The data for this thesis was collected through action research where four iterations of
restructures took place within a specific organisation. Through the process of action
research, I designed and tested various redundancy models to drive continuous
improvement. The main source of data collection was through semi-structured
interviews with a total of 36 interview respondents from various industries and
organisations. Additional sources of primary data collected included; ethnography
through observation and diary keeping, ‘lessons learned’ sessions, employee
committee consultative meetings, restructure and change management workshops,
workshop feedback questionnaires, management strategy workshops and director
application interviews.
Analysis of data led to the design of three bespoke restructure stakeholder models to
address key stressors and challenges for redundancy envoys. This model was piloted
within the second and third iteration with the final amendments taking place in the
fourth iteration. The implementation of the model resulted in an increase in
engagement during a challenging time of change. Evidence indicates that the
business has improved its financial position by 21.7 % over a 4 year period, from loss
to profit making whilst undergoing four redundancy programmes. The data highlighted
that this research project is one of the rare examples where a company can reap
economic success through the implementation of redundancies, which is the exception
to the rule in accordance with Gandolfi’s findings (2008) that most firms adopting
downsizing strategies do not reap economic and organisational benefits.
Knowledge is contributed in several areas with the key focus on the implementation of
the restructure stakeholder model which addresses emerging themes which
demonstrated that the mitigation of guilt during the implementation of redundancy
programmes is one of the most powerful methods to reduce the psychological impact
on redundancy envoys. Contribution to knowledge also indicate, contrary to existing
knowledge that physical distancing was not favoured (Claire and Dufresne; 2004) and
that the use of empathy reduced the negative impact on redundancy envoys.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Solent University

Cite this