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Employee Downsizing Strategies: Market Reaction and Post Announcement Financial Performance

Peter Chalos and Charles J. P. Chen

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2002, vol. 29, issue 5‐6, 847-870

Abstract: Empirical studies have generally reported insignificant market reactions to employee downsizing. In an effort to reconcile ongoing layoffs with inconclusive empirical results, we segregated our sample by downsizing strategy and examined employee layoff announcements made by Fortune 500 firms during the 1993–1995 period. Unlike previous studies, we find a positive market reaction for layoff announcements related to revenue refocusing. Market reaction with respect to layoff announcements involving cost cutting was insignificant while weak evidence was found for a negative market reaction to layoffs related to plant closings. Consistent with the market reaction, post announcement analysis revealed that downsizing in conjunction with revenue refocusing (plant closing) improved (reduced) firm financial performance and that revenue refocusing firms significantly outperformed cost cutting and plant closing firms over the three–year post announcement period.

Date: 2002
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Journal of Business Finance & Accounting is currently edited by P. F. Pope, A. W. Stark and M. Walker

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