The Debate between Employee Sacrifice and Shared Sacrifice

When a company encounters troubles during the course of doing business and is forced to realign their labor structure, who will be at risk? Will it be the lower level employees who feel the burden or will the sacrifices be shared by all members of the organization?  Over the past couple months the pressure of staying alive in the automotive industry has been on Toyota; after recalls on two pieces of equipment on or around the accelerator pedal they are struggling to recover and get back on their feet. Toyota is now focused completely on repairing the issues with the recalls and eliminating this problem so they can go back to doing business at a high level like they are used to. As a result, they have shut down many factories and lots of workers are left wondering if they will have a job from one day to the next. The positive aspect of this from the employee’s point of view is that Toyota believes in a doctrine of shared sacrifice. They will do whatever it takes to retain as many employees as possible during an economic downturn. This excerpt from The Lane Report shows the ripple effect this type of employee retention policy has on even the head of manufacturing in Kentucky:

At Toyota, it’s shared sacrifice. That means that all employees, including myself, share in the pain. Bonuses for everybody in the company were discontinued. Overtime was eliminated. Some members throughout North America worked only 34 to 36 hours a week. The executives in North America took base pay cuts. In some cases, employees from closed plants in Indiana, Alabama, and Texas were dispatched to Kentucky to help run this plant.

Overall, I think the policy of shared sacrifice is socially responsible for the company and can help the image for the company, as well as, boost employee morale. Others argue that the top executives who have worked hard their entire lives don’t deserve to shave their paycheck for the sake of a lower level manufacturing employee. In this case, it is very easy to see the points of view for both sides and leads to this issue becoming a dilemma for a company to debate and discuss when implementing these human resource policies in the future.


Lane, E. (2010). One-on-One: “The Key to Success for Any Plant Is Being Flexible and Creative”. Retrieved Feb. 19, 2010, from The Lane Report, Lexington, KY. Web site:

Explore posts in the same categories: Dilemmas

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