Sub-theme 58: Reshaping Firms: Downsizing, Reorganizing, Intervening

Rick Aalbers
Radboud University, The Netherlands
James P. Guthrie
The University of Kansas, USA
Wilfred Dolfsma
University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Call for Papers

In good times and bad, firms regularly reshape themselves. Firms may re-align organization structure with strategy and changed external circumstances (Gulati & Puranam, 2009), intervene to stimulate specific activities (Okhuysen & Eisenhardt, 2002), or downsize during challenging times (Dougherty & Bowman, 1995).


While firms often reshape during growth, mature firms also frequently re-shape. Strategy and organization design issues are increasingly intertwined, particularly where they involve key activities such as innovation (Gandolfi & Oster, 2010). While reshaping firms (e.g., changing structure or size) is both important and frequent, it is also relatively understudied. Moreover, extant research (e.g., on downsizing) typically focuses on traditional outcomes (e.g., profits) with less emphasis on such things as collaboration, knowledge creation and innovation at the individual or team levels.

This sub-theme brings together research on antecedents, processes and consequences associated with organizational reshaping. We welcome diverse theoretical and methodological approaches targeting single or multiple organizational levels.



Dougherty, Deborah & Edward H. Bowman (1995): 'The Effects of Organizational Downsizing on Product Innovation.' California Management Review, 37 (4), pp. 28–44.
Gandolfi, Franco & Gary Oster (2010): 'How does downsizing impact the innovative capability of a firm? A contemporary discussion with conceptual frameworks.' International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 8 (2), pp. 127–148.
Gulati, Ranjay & Phanish Puranam (2009): 'Renewal Through Reorganization: The Value of Inconsistencies Between Formal and Informal Organization.' Organization Science, 20 (2), pp. 422–440.
Okhuysen, Gerardo A. & Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (2002): 'Integrating Knowledge in Groups: How Formal Interventions Enable Flexibility.' Organization Science, 13 (4), pp. 370–386.


Rick Aalbers is Assistant Professor in Strategy and Innovation at the Radboud University, Institute for Management Research, The Netherlands, and holds a PHD in Business and Economics from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His research focuses on inter- and intra- organizational collaboration and the effects of corporate downsizing and organizational restructuring on innovativeness and other corporate performance indicators. His work has been accepted for publication in various journals, including 'Research Policy', 'Journal of Product Innovation Management', 'MIT Sloan Management Review' and 'Innovation Management Policy & Practice'. Prior to his academic career, Rick worked as a Manager at Deloitte Consulting where he advised on strategic change and turnarounds in the financial services industry. A native of The Netherlands, he holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from Rotterdam School of Management, an a second Masters degree in Business Economics (cum laude) from Erasmus University's School of Economics.
James P. Guthrie (PhD, University of Maryland) is the William & Judy Docking Professor at the University of Kansas, School of Business, USA. His current research looks at employment volatility (e.g., downsizing), compensation and rewards and, more generally, strategic human resource management. His work has appeared in journals such as 'Organization Science', 'Journal of Management', 'Academy of Management Journal', 'Academy of Management Review', 'Strategic Management Journal', 'Human Resource Management' and the 'Journal of Applied Psychology.' He is currently on the Editorial Boards of the 'Academy of Management Journal', the 'Journal of International Business Studies', 'Human Resource Management', 'Human Resource Management Journal' (UK), 'Oxford Research Reviews: Business and Management' and the 'Irish Journal of Management'.
Wilfred Dolfsma is both an economist and philosopher and holds a PhD in the former. He is Professor of Innovation and Strategy at the University of Groningen School of Economics and Business, The Netherlands, and professorial fellow at United Nations University (UNU-MERIT). He was research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies and is corresponding editor for the 'Review of Social Economy' and associate editor for 'Innovation: Management Policy Practice'. His research interests are the interrelations between economy, society and technology. He has co-edited, amongst others, "MNCs from Emerging Economies" (2009), "The Elgar Companion to Social Economics" (2008), "Understanding the Dynamics of the Knowledge Economy" (2006), "Ethics and the Market" (2006), and is author of these monographs:"Institutions, Communication and Values" (2009), "Knowledge Economies" (2008), "Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences" (2004), and "Government Failure" (2013). His articles have featured in, amongst others, the 'Journal of Evolutionary Economics', 'Journal of Economic and Social Geography', 'Journal of Business Ethics', 'The Information Society', 'Journal of Product Innovation Management', 'Technology Analysis and Strategic Management', 'Technological Forecasting' and 'Social Change and Research Policy'.