Thursday, October 30, 2008

Corporate Bulemia

The following was posted on the LinkedIn Cisco group. Yet it may just as readily apply for any company around the world. Those that grow unsustainably and then rapidly collapse, readily purging employees to survive. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Me and 10,000 of my closest friends were "given the package" in 2001. Then the entire world economy was shocked by the 9/11 disasters. Since then, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the loss of control of the economy have made sure that the stock prices of 2000 have never returned to Cisco.

Yet even before all those crises, Cisco had the layoff.

Cisco is not alone. Corporation after corporation grows beyond its bounds and lays off 10%, like Yahoo last week, or sheds 50% or more of their employees. Or implodes entirely and goes belly-up. Enron anyone?

What causes corporate bulemia? The gorging of 1,000 employees in a merger, only to vomit out 800 of them as needless "overhead." The binge/purge cycle of employees as "food" or "fuel" of companies.

Leviathan swallows all, like Jonah and the Whale. Are the lucky ones those who stay swallowed, remaining inside the corporation after such traumatic layoffs, stressed out to try to make up for the empty chairs and cubicles of entire teams no-longer extant, or those who are vomited forth, left bereft and shipwrecked on the shores of unemployment? "Should I stay or should I go now?" asked the Clash. Thus I ask you as well.

What causes corporate bulemia in the first place? What exacerbates it? Specifically focus on Cisco as a case study, or compare it to other employment experiences you have had. What can be done to make corporate growth and long-term employment more stable and wholesome?

HR theories, business school pablum, clever cybernetic diagrams, and ideal states may be readily tossed out the window. What really works? What is sane and rational. Really.

I'd be interested in your replies. If you would prefer to reply privately, my contact information is below.

-Peter Corless.
650-906-3134 (mobile)

No comments:

Post a Comment