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The smiling assassin?: Reconceptualising redundancy envoys as quasi-dirty workers

Stevens, M and Hannibal, C (2021) The smiling assassin?: Reconceptualising redundancy envoys as quasi-dirty workers. International Journal of Human Resource Management. ISSN 0958-5192

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Despite redundancies having far reaching consequences for organisations, relatively limited attention has been paid to the conflicting experiences of those implementing the redundancy process; the redundancy envoys. By drawing on theories of cognitive dissonance and ‘dirty work’ we explain how individuals implementing redundancies can experience a disconnect between their outward and inner emotions. We reconceptualise redundancy envoys as quasi-dirty workers as they intermittently perform ‘dirty work’ tasks that may be perceived as morally tainted, whilst recognising their conventional role incorporates tasks perceived as contrary to that of ‘dirty work’. Our study draws on insider research access to redundancy envoys over a five-year period during the implementation of four consecutive redundancy programmes, providing the opportunity to observe decisions and actions in ‘real time.’ By building on the work of Ashman (2015, 2016), we offer a contemporary conceptualisation of the redundancy envoy. This reconceptualisation permits a deeper understanding of the negative impact on redundancy envoys and offers opportunities to examine how this can be reduced. In addition, it is anticipated that the results of this study will offer support to HR functions in reducing the stigma of ‘dirty work’ for redundancy envoys with the intention of enhancing the management of redundancy implementation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1503 Business and Management, 1505 Marketing, 1605 Policy and Administration
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5410 Marketing. Distribution of Products
Divisions: Business & Management (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 08:40
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2022 11:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/09585192.2021.1976246
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15408
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