Necessary and sufficient factors in employee downsizing? A qualitative comparative analysis of lay-offs in France and the UK, 2008–2013

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of Leicester
  • University of Birmingham, Birmingham.


Embedded in the literature on financialization and institutional approaches, this study is an examination of the causal factors of employee downsizing in two institutionally dissimilar settings, France and the UK, using the fuzzy sets variant of Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The findings show that the roughly equivalent use of large-scale lay-offs in the two countries is coupled with strikingly different causal factors. Our argument suggests the importance of complex causation whereby employee downsizing reflects the growing influence of financial considerations in the governance of companies, but its diffusion across countries is shaped by different configurations of institutional arrangements.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-268
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number3
Early online date17 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • complex causation, employee downsizing, financialization, fuzzy sets QCA, institutional investors, institutions, leverage, ownership structures