An Examination of staff layoffs in Kenya : evidence from companies quoted in the main investment market segment of the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
Staff layoffs in Kenya seem like the most prevalent solutions available to management teams of companies faced with economic difficulty. This study targeted companies quoted in the Main Investment Market Segment of the Nairobi Stocks Exchange, with a view of finding out the drivers to downsizing; its outcomes (costs and benefits); other factors impacting these outcomes and ways of enhancing the success of the strategy. Consistent with the review of literature, the study found out that downsizing is motivated by economic, strategic and technological reasons. the positive outcomes are increased profitability, improved productivity, better strategic networks and leaner structures. on the flip side, the adverse effects include reduced staff morale, hampered innovative capacity, injured corporate reputation and loss of stock knowledge. In order to enhance the success of downsizing, business leaders may use financial incentives, pre and post retrenchment counseling to the exits and survivors respectively, and offering alternative training or sources of income. however, this study also found that the positive outcomes of downsizing may also be achieved using other ways. For example, increased profitability may be attained by boosting the number of units sold, enhancing market penetration or improving production efficiency. a review of outcomes of downsizing vis-a-vis their underlying drivers therefore suggests that staff layoffs in themselves may be more injurious to the firm than beneficial. positive outcomes can be achieved by other means. downsizing should therefore only be used as strategic initiative aimed at increasing productivity and /or efficiency while retaining the most valuable resource in production - the human capital.