The impact of restructuring on employee well-being: a systematic review of longitudinal studies

Tanja de Jong, Noortje Wiezer, Marjolein de Weerd, Karina Nielsen, Pauliina Mattila-Holappa, Zosia Mockałło

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The present review presents an overview of published longitudinal empirical research on the impact of restructuring on employee well-being. We investigated whether restructuring with staff reductions impacts differently on worker well-being than restructuring without staff reductions and the differences between short and longer term effects of restructuring. Furthermore, we investigated the mechanisms that explain these well-being effects. We conducted a literature search focusing on longitudinal, peer reviewed, English-written studies from the period 2000-2012. Thirty-nine papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria. We found that restructuring events, with and without staff reductions, mainly have a negative impact on the well-being of employees. The majority of studies showed negative changes over time, on the short and longer term. Some groups of workers reacted less negative. For example workers with a high organisational status before restructuring and workers with a change in workgroup. Variables that intervened in the relationship between restructuring and well-being were physical demands, job control, communication, provision of information, training, procedural justice, job insecurity and change acceptance. Low income employees were identified as a possible vulnerable group. More high quality longitudinal research is needed to get more insight in the impact of restructuring over time and the intervening variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-114
Number of pages24
JournalWork & Stress
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Organizational change
  • health outcomes
  • interventions
  • work organization
  • restructuring
  • downsizing
  • well-being
  • review
  • longitudinal

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