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Stanford professor claims tech layoffs are ‘copycat behavior’

Stanford professor claims tech layoffs are ‘copycat behavior’


A Stanford professor has confirmed what many have suspected, saying that Big Tech’s layoffs are more about ‘copycat behavior than necessary cost-cutting.’

Technology companies have already laid off hundreds of thousands of workers, blaming the economic downturn and overly aggressive hiring during the pandemic for the current downsizing. Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer told Business Insider’s Sarah Jackson that many of these cuts appear not to be necessary, but rather to reflect a fundamental truth of human nature.

The idea that human behavior is influenced by what others do is a very old one. If you’re a pedestrian and you see a stop sign, but there’s no car coming, and someone steps out onto the road, you’ll probably do the same. This is almost automatic behavior.

Not surprisingly, this is also true in business. During the pandemic, many companies were hiring, so everyone decided to hire. Now companies are laying off people and everyone has decided to follow everyone else and lay people off. Most of it is just imitation.

Professor Pfeffer questions the dubious benefits that many companies use to justify laying off employees. In many cases, layoffs do not increase the stock price or reduce costs. In addition to severance pay and reduced productivity, layoffs have quite unpleasant and negative consequences for the company. It is not clear that they actually increase profits.

Ironically, a year ago these same companies were talking about people as their most important asset, and now they are treating their employees pretty badly, firing them by email or by suddenly cutting off their access to company resources.

Virtually all of the world’s biggest tech companies have already laid off thousands of people, including Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Meta. In fact, Apple is the only major tech company that hasn’t yet implemented mass layoffs.

Perhaps, since Professor Pfeffer links layoffs to “copycat behavior,” it’s not so surprising that Apple is the only Big Tech company that avoids layoffs. In the case of Apple, the culture of separate travel has a long history – writes a WebProNews.

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