Title: Lay-offs in the name of love - the Danish example

Authors: Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen

Addresses: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Porcelænshaven 18A, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: A number of articles have shown that the relationship between organisation and employee has become an intimate relationship. This is indeed the case in Denmark. This article shows how the problem of lay-off is discursively rearticulated in the context of passion as a problem of intimate breaks. Lay-off becomes a tricky problem of breaking up in a loving way. This article is a semantic analysis of the lay-off semantics in Denmark after the financial crisis, comparing lay-off semantics with the semantics of divorces. Handbooks on lay-offs use divorce metaphors, and particular strategies for divorces can be found in advisory tools on the termination of employees. Lay-offs are split in two: a formal lay-off and an intimate break. This creates a number of interesting discursive paradoxes for both managers and employees.

Keywords: lay-off semantics; divorce semantics; membership; passion; work relations; emotions; intimisation; Denmark; intimate break-up; employee termination; employee lay-off; loving divorce; lay-offs; redundancy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2015.073123

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2015 Vol.7 No.1, pp.16 - 34

Received: 21 Aug 2014
Accepted: 13 May 2015

Published online: 16 Nov 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article