General Comments This answer scored 11/15.
The student starts off with a clear definition of what downsizing is (and correctly attributes this definition to
Karakowsky), and then specifically elects to discuss just two methods. This is appropriate, as the question directs the
student to focus on two methods in-depth, rather than trying to cover all the different methods.
The student discusses “across-the-board cutbacks” as the first example of downsizing. A clear discussion of the
advantages and disadvantages is then given. However, providing an example of a company or companies which
have used such methods (e.g., Toyota) would have strengthened this answer and garnered more marks, as it would
provide a practical example or application of the concept.
The student also notes that “low employee morale” might occur when an organization adopts “downsizing,” but in
this particular case, the student should have talked about why it might happen specifically during “across-the-board
cutbacks” (rather than downsizing more generally.) Indeed, if you choose to focus on a specific dimension of
downsizing, your answer must directly address it. In this case, the student might have discussed why low morale
might specifically occur as a result of across-the-board cutbacks (e.g., if each department has to let specific numbers
of people go regardless of their performance, then employees are likely to become demoralized, particularly if they
have been very productive). In other words, it is the blanket application of a policy which creates problems.
The student also makes the statement that downsizing has caused damage to some companies—which is true—but
again, she has digressed to talk about downsizing in general, when the focus should have been on “across-the-board
cutbacks.” In other words, there should have been some discussion as to why “across-the-board cutbacks” have met
with only limited success.
The second part of the answer focuses on downsizing or cutting back on certain products. The student draws the
Boston Consulting Matrix (BCM) which is entirely appropriate for this answer: it demonstrates in diagrammatic
form what the student wishes to talk about. However, the discussion of how exactly the BCM is applied is a little
unclear. If you are going to include a diagram, you must explain what it means. There should be some discussion of
the advantages of keeping the “cash cows” along wi