Scott DeRue: Team Downsizing

Morela interviews Scott DeRue about a study he and his team recently conducted that examined how different structural approaches to downsizing affect team adaptation. Testing three approaches where either a junior team member or the team leader is downsized, they find that only the Eliminating Hierarchy approach (downsizing the team leader) provided enough of a trigger for teams to meaningfully adapt. Additionally, they find that teams composed of members high in extraversion and emotional stability adapted most effectively.

Scott DeRue

Scott DeRue is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Scott’s research and teaching interests are in the areas of leadership and teamwork. His research seeks to understand how leaders and teams in organizations adapt, learn and develop over time. His research has been published in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Leadership Quarterly, and the Human Resource Management Journal. Prior to academia, Scott held leadership positions at the Monitor Group and Hinckley Yacht Company.

Recommended further readings:

  • Ancona, D., & Bresman, H. 2007. X-teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate and Succeed. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.
  • Burke, C. S., Stagl, K. C., Salas, E., Pierce, L., & Kendall, D. 2006. Understanding team adaptation: A conceptual analysis and model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(6): 1189-1207.
  • Cameron, K. S., Freeman, S. J., & Mishra, A. K. 1991. Best Practices in White-Collar Downsizing: Managing Contradictions. Academy of Management Executive, 5(3): 57-73.
  • Zatzick, C. D., & Iverson, R. D. 2006. High-involvement management and workforce reduction: Competitive advantage or disadvantage? Academy of Management Journal, 49(5): 999-1015.

Morela Hermandez

Morela Hernandez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Organization in the Foster Business School at the University of Washington. She can be reached at