daleste wrote: Sad to see IBM having to have such a large layoff. It has been the company that was the benchmark for not allowing layoffs.
IBM's "full employment practice" was a long, long time ago. Long ago IBM considered it Good Business and Good Management to have a loyal work force, and realized that you cannot have employees loyal to the company if the company is not loyal to them. They liked to hire inexperienced people so they could mold them to the IBM Way and liked them to stay with IBM their whole careers. IBM was careful not to expand in temporary ways that would result in layoffs later.
All this changed in under CEO John Akers (1983-1993), whom Steve Jobs once described as: "smart, eloquent, fantastic salesperson, but he didn't know anything about product." The "full employment practice" ended and was replaced with black humor:
Q: What's the definition of an Optimist?
A: An IBM employee who, on Sunday, irons five white shirts.
The amazing part of this is that if you look up IBM's history, they went through transformations many times, surviving the Great Depression, and becoming a dominant player in digital electronic computing. None of this must have been easy, right?
What's so different about now? The first to be fired should be the execs. Just sayin'.
They have moved from being a hardware company to more of a software provider and that leaves a lot of people out of the loop.
@zewde, I agree with you. I think the process started when IBM sold its personal computer business (Thinkpad) to lenovo. It would be interesting to know the future strategy of the IBM and whether they would totally want to exit the hardware business.
'Institutionalized' is a good term for it. My Mother was a social worker, and she did her Master's thesis on institutionalization in mental hospitals. People become dependent on the specific structure provided by an organization like that. It is so foreign to the way that I think that I have difficulty relating to it, but I recognize that it exists.
Prabhakar, you are right in your observation. Companies like HP which prided itself in the "reinvent" campaign did not quite pull it off. I often find the middle management in companies like these (that have gone thru big downsizing) just focus on "managing" and lose touch completely with technology. I don't see how such managers can lead in reinventing and keep the company on a growth trajectory.