The Production and Reproduction of Layoffs - Discourse in Swedish Newspapers
Aim: This is a scientific report that aims at examining how the discourse of layoffs is constituted and depicted in news texts, and specifically how they reflect on and represent the layoff phenomenon in the Swedish context by drawing on the critical discourse analysis (CDA). Moreover, the thesis also analyzes and describes how the selected newspapers´ discourses illustrate and reflect on the role of Human Resource Management in dealing with layoff processes. The study concentrated on the framings, justifications, evaluations and legitimizations processes in two well-known Swedish newspapers in their coverage of the layoff events in three large organizations in Sweden during 2012. Theory: Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is the theoretical framework of this study. The main theoretical concepts that are used for the purpose of this thesis are: discourse and discursive practice and interpretation. Method: A critical discourse analysis was conducted for 40 news articles that included a discursive textual and inter-textual analysis and micro-level linguistic analysis as well. Findings: The analysis resulted in revealing three main discourse types; rationalistic, humanistic and nationalistic, which their characteristics were described and discussed elaborately. Moreover, the analysis revealed the domination of the rationalistic discourse and that the other two discourses are subordinated to it. This highlighted the news texts justification of layoffs practice and the legitimization of the management action. Furthermore, the analysis revealed that Swedish newspapers represented the role of HRM in handling layoffs practice within a narrow scope that related only to the implementation of the organizations´ financial strategy, while it overlooked the role of HRM in dealing with the employees questions during layoff processes.