WMDA case study

The architectural firm, West Midlands Designers and Architects Ltd. (WMDA), was a profit-making and successful business three years age. A close-knit group built a friendly and harmony atmosphere under the management of Russell Quinn. There are ten staff working for this design and architecture firm. Nevertheless, the market collapsed and economy is on sharp downturn. WMDA has less work to handle. Under this circumstance, the boss decides to find an acceptable and fair method to lay-off four staff in order that the firm can continue to survive in this competitive market. There are four possible methods to have decide-making, but, which way can be a fair decision and how to decide who would be redundant will be analyzed and explained below.

Russell Quinn has considered four possible methods: Last in - first out (LIFO); Voluntary redundancy; Selection on merit; Peer selection included. Every coin has two sides, these four methods also have their own strength and weakness.

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First of all, LIFO is the easiest, simplest, traditional method. Additionally, a steady and long history company should need some talented and full of new ideas young employee, not all old and experience employee to manage the firm. On contrast, the fresher came to the firm in a short period, thus, the firm has input less money and training on them. For example, Paul is a no experience fresher in the company and have not created some value or major contribution for the company. Even though the firm may waste recruit and advertising money spent before, it is the best way to save money than lay-off an experience labor staying in the firm for several years. However, the firm also need to consider if makes the youngest architects redundant, they may consider the firm has age discrimination.

Another method is Voluntary redundancy. Employees own the opinion that they have the right to choose, not compel to leave, moreover, they think the firm respect them in this choice. Hence, this method can release worry and fear of the other employee. However, this may not be a good method. Firstly, it is not fair totally. The company usually has a predetermined plan who will be laid off so that the top management will utilize some method to force some staff, such as conversation, implication and exert pressure, etc. Additionally, to a certain extent, it may be a venture for the company. Sometimes the firm will lose some brilliant staff or some you want to leave behind.

In comparison, Selection on merit is much more fair. Every firm wants to have superb performance and value staff who has the capability to bring benefit to the corporation. However, only to observe one staff's outcome cannot judge it is superior or not. Working process may be crucial, for example, new employees have less opportunity and time to create value and outstanding design, we can only judge them according to working process.

Lastly, Peer selection is not very useful. Even though the communication and understanding among employees are much better than manager to employee, thus, to some degrees, peer appraisal has valuable reference. Nevertheless, under this circumstance, staff may all want the firm to use another method (slash salary, take a holiday, work rotation, etc) than make staff redundant. Moreover, partiality may exist when they submit names.

As what has been analyzed above, only to make use of one method is not fair and unreasonable. Integrated approach should be an appropriate way. Virtually, the firm should have known its objective, long-term development target well and go over every detail

(http://uk.askmen.com/money/career_200/248_how-to-lay-off-employees.html, accessed on Dec 20 2009), performance appraisal is a crucial and most useful method to measure staff, peer appraisal also can be valuable reference to judge staff' contribution.. Some people may not be leave behind if their goal are not equal to the interest of the firm. For example, Henry wants the company to diversify into new areas, the firm is at low tide that there is not enough money to invest in another business, which never has invested before. Additionally, Hiroshi wishes Japanese companies to set up in Britain, yet the financial situation is not allow.

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In conclusion, the company is reluctant to lay-off employee. Hence, never make a decision before meticulous deliberation. According to the firm's pecuniary condition and corporate interest to make a long-term objective, then remain staff who can

assist company to win the battle.

I recommend that the firm should make out a model for development in future and communicate with all employee in the company frequently. It can help protect against staff anxiety and avoid staff job-hopping. Reward superior architects also be a good way to encourage and support the rest of them as a result of morale and cohesion improvement. On the other side, the firm should respect and support the staff redundant. Recommendation letter and friendly greeting also can be a good way to comfort. ( http://www.chinahrd.net/ZHI_SK/jt_page.asp?articleid=178823, accessed on Dec 2 2009)


1, ZhiZhong Chen, Face Layoff Employee Correctly (2009), http://www.chinahrd.net/ZHI_SK/jt_page.asp?articleid=178823, accessed on Dec 2 2009

2,Dimitri A.C. Ly, http://uk.askmen.com/money/career_200/248_how-to-lay-off-employees.html, accessed on Dec 20 2009