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Downsizing in Vogue   裁员风行


In recent years corporate downsizing has been on the rise throughout the world.

近年来全球兴起了公司裁员之风。

Downsizing is reducing costs by dismissing employees and reassigning their duties to the employees who remain. They usually call it restructuring, rightsizing, reallocating resources, or job separation. They sometimes use dieting metaphors like "trimming the fat," "getting lean and mean," or "shedding weight." Whatever the euphemism, employees affected by these practices know what the words mean to them: layoff. And no "kinder, gentler" words can do much to alleviate the anxiety and distress that come with losing a job.

所谓裁员,就是公司为了降低成本而解雇一些员工并将其工作职责重新分配给其他人。裁员常被雅称为重组、合理精简、资源重新配置、岗位剥离等。有时也用"抽脂"、"瘦身"、"抛重"等减肥术语来比喻。不管是什么委婉措词,裁员之举波及到的员工都知道这对自己意味的是被解雇。而这些"更温柔,更关切"的措词对于缓解丢了工作所带来的焦虑与沮丧也是于事无补。

In their quest to lower costs to stay competitive, companies often wield the ax with little or no regard for the well-being of the people involved. For example, in the past years AT&T have dismissed thousands of managers and employees through downsizing, though many of these people have twenty or more years of loyal employment with the firm. Industry analysts assert that if organizations wish to consider themselves responsible, ethical corporate citizens, they must demonstrate concern for their employees, even when they have to tell them they are no longer employed.Organizations concerned about easing their employees' shock and stress at being laid off can do so through careful planning and preparation. Effective, honest and timely communication is always important, but when staff reductions are imminent, it becomes critical. Employees who know what is going on can prepare themselves for the inevitable and are much better able to cope when the ax finally does fall.

为减低成本以保持竞争力,公司经常大举裁员却很少顾及受此影响的人们的安康。例如,在过去的几年中,AT&T裁掉了成千上万的经理和雇员,而他们中有许多人已在该公司忠心耿耿工作了二十年甚至更长时间。产业分析家们断言,如果公司还希望被看作是负责任的、有道德感的企业人,他们就必须表现出对员工的关心,即使在不得不告知员工要解雇他们的时候。关注如何消除裁员给员工带来的冲击与压力的公司可以通过精心筹划与准备做得妥善些。有效、诚恳与适时的沟通总是很重要的,而如果裁员行动突如其来,沟通就更为关键。了解情况的员工可以为不可避免的结果有所准备并在砍斧挥落时从容面对。


It is sometimes difficult to determine the right thing to do, but many firms are trying. IBM for instance, offers early retirement. AT&T offers job search help and career counseling to displaced employees. Organizations can also support employees whose positions have been eliminated by providing retraining or outplacement assistance and a reasonable severance package. Those being laid off are not, however, the only ones affected by the downsizing. By addressing the needs and concerns of remaining staff, showing sensitivity to their feeling of loss, and dealing with their anxieties about additional layoffs, an organization increases its chances of retaining their loyalty and trust.

有时很难决定怎样做才对,但是许多公司在努力做好。例如,IBM有提前退休计划,AT&T为裁掉的员工提供求职帮助与职业指导。公司也可以为被解雇员工提供再培训或新职介绍帮助以及合理的解聘补偿,但是,受裁员影响的并非只有被裁掉的人,所以也要关心留岗人员的需求与担忧,细心体察他们的失落感并化解他们对以后的裁员行动的焦虑。这样做公司得以保持员工忠诚与信任的可能性就会更大。

Questions about the ethics of downsizing are sure to continue. Do responsible companies lay people off? Is it ethical to close factories? Must employers guarantee workers jobs for life? What are the ethical issues involved when organizations become so downsized they are no longer able to attain their goals (a situation known as "corporate anorexia")? What happens, for example, to patients in a hospital that has eliminated so many positions it is no longer able to provide the necessary level of care? If, as most experts agree, downsizing is here to stay, perhaps the real question is not, "Is it ethical to downsize?" but "How can companies downsize ethically?"

  有关裁员的道德问题肯定会不断出现。有责任心的公司解雇员工吗?关闭工厂合乎道德准则吗?雇主必须给予员工终生工作保障吗?公司因规模减小而不能实现目标(俗称企业厌食症)会引起什么道德问题?例如,医院减掉许多岗位而不能提供必要的医疗水准会对病人造成什么影响?正如大多数专家所认同,如果裁员行动继续下去,或许真正的问题不在“裁员是否道德”而是“公司怎样做使得裁员更为人道?”


1. dieting metaphor: 减肥喻语。
2. euphemism: 委婉语。
3. in the quest to: 为了……。
4. wield the ax: 挥动斧头。
5. severance package: 解雇补偿费,遣散费(数额通常为三个月的工资)。
6. corporate anorexia: 企业厌食症,指由于市场或资金等方面出现问题企业不愿大展宏图的困顿状态。

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