West Midlands Designers and Architects: Action Plan

Problem Statement

West Midlands Designers and Architects Ltd. (WMDA) owner Russell Quinn is concerned with the hard economic times that his business is going through. He wants to downsize the firm through the reduction of the workforce from ten to six. His employees are a tightly connected group that seems to be getting on well. He is therefore trying to figure out how to get the four employees to be relieved of their duties. This is what I am meant to analyze and recommend a plan of action for Mr. Quinn.

He has availed the profiles of the ten employees which I am supposed to carefully examine and use in my recommendation. Considering the degree of complexity of cutting down the number of employees, the leadership of West Midlands Designers and Architects Ltd. (WMDA) will need to employ utmost prudence and courage to make tough decisions. This report takes due cognizance of the fact that the ultimate decision is in the hands of the management but it will make business sense if this decision is guided by market realities and the immediate needs of the farm (Cascio 2002, pp.80-81).

Analysis of the Problem

Based on the four choices namely; last in- first out (LIFO), voluntary redundancy, selection on merit, and peer selection, there are some that are the best for the farm at the moment. Here is a grading of the choices based on their fitness followed by our recommendation based on their appropriateness.

Best Method: Selection on Merit

This is the best method to use in deciding who should leave the firm at this moment. The situation in the market demands that the firm possess an edge in the way it does its business. This is not going to be achieved if the firm has people who lack the ability to perform their duties. Therefore, the merit or performance should be the deciding criterion.

Second Best: Voluntary Redundancy

Given that some members of the team such as Matt may be willing to leave the firm on their own, it would be ideal to prepare a severance package for him and then set him free. This happens to be a very easy option since no emotions will be affected. It will be purely voluntary and therefore no room for grudges.

The worst Methods to Use: Peer Selection and Last In First Out

Why they also do not make business sense

  • Looking at the option of last in- first out, chances are that the last person to join the firm is the most qualified. For example in our case, Matt seems to be more qualified than the fifty five year old socialite; Felicity and the business minded, thirty two year old Hiroshi; whose business plans the company is not interested in at the moment. Therefore this method will may end up eliminating what the firm needs to stay afloat during these hard economic times.
  • Peer selection gives room for selecting the person based on grudges and past misunderstandings. This may also end up depriving the firm of the hottest talent; the major aspect it requires during these challenging economic times.


Based on the profiles and using the above criteria with merit coming first, Felicity, Hiroshi and Bryony should leave the firm. The reasons are:

Felicity seems to be too much social with little input in terms of design and architecture. The firm can do without her at the moment. Hiroshi, with his business mind is not entirely beneficial since the management of the firm begun the business without him anyway. His plans are not the interest of the firm at the moment too. And for Bryony, her organization skills can be catered for by the owner of the firm.It is not a major requirement at the moment. The second criterion to be applied will be incidental and this is voluntary redundancy. Matt is willing to leave and therefore he becomes the fourth employee to leave the firm. All that management has to do is to prepare a severance package for him


It is important that merit be the first criterion. This will assist in getting rid of the less beneficial employees (Felicity, Hiroshi, and Bryony). The other appropriate criterion will be applied because there is a candidate who meets it. The criterion is voluntary redundancy, and the candidate for this is Matt. All that is supposed to be done in his case is to prepare a severance package for him and let him leave in peace.


Cascio, F.W. 2002. ‘Strategies for Responsible Restructuring’, Academy of Management Executive, Vol.16, pp. 80–91.

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