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Downsizing, Outsourcing, Privatization & You


Ten little workers'sidewaysnine.gif (1892 bytes)
Jobs were redesigned.

One of them was downsized,
Now there are nine.



Simply stated, "downsizing" means "reducing in size," and usually means cutting the number of workers.  If positions can be "downsized", then there is an assumption that your original employees either didn't have enough to do, or weren't doing it efficiently. What may happen, though, is that surviving workers end up working longer hours and/or service and production suffer. Regular workers may also be replaced by temporary workers, or the jobs  may be outsourced -- in which case the organization often creates new positions to manage the outsourcing.
Downsizing usually affects a group of people at one time, so it is seen as being better than being fired.


Outsourcing simply means having a job done by someone who is not a regular employee, and is usually done by contracting with another company to provide the service. The advantage is that you don't have to worry about salaries and benefits. The disadvantage is that you lose some control over the way the job is done. Companies may identify their "core competencies" (buzzword for "things they do best") and outsource the rest.
Examples of jobs that are commonly outsourced are copying machine maintenance, janitorial services, and communications.


Privatizing ("to make private")  takes jobs that were in the public sector and gives them to the private sector. The idea is that there are some things that government or non-profit public agencies do best, and some things that are better done by private or for-profit agencies.
In its pure form, the public sector gives over complete responsibility.  In the UK, for example, Thatcher's government sold more than 40 state-owned enterprises including Jaguar and British Airways.  Most of the time, though, the public sector retains some control, and then "privatization" is just another word for "outsourcing.", where the job is still being done, but it just isn't being done by public employees.


A blanket term referring to business processes that can involve all of the above. Reengineering can also be used as a euphemism for "downsizing".

Next: What's Wrong With Downsizing, Outsourcing, and Privatization?WB01339_.gif (896 bytes)

Revised 09/12/99
for CIS 212
Cuyamaca College

General Information:
[What's Wrong With Downsizing, and Privatization?]
[What Can You Do To Protect Your Job?]
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What's Happening Where I Work:
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[What I Think About IT Outsourcing]
[Why I Wrote These Pages]
["Ten Little County Workers"]