Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

New organization of CBS can have a big impact on employees  

As part of the new strategy under development, five units are undergoing reorganization, which can result in major changes for the employees involved. According to two shop stewards, the Senior Management cannot eliminate layoffs. The shop stewards say the announcement of the new organization is bad timing and encourage CBS to do everything to avoid layoffs.

News |   02. Apr 2020

Anne M. Lykkegaard

Journalist

On March 25, CBS’ Board of Directors approved the draft of CBS’ new strategy that, according to a statement at CBS Share, will lead to a new organization for CBS.

The new organization involves the President’s Office, the two Dean’s Offices, CBS Business and Communications. Although the new organizational structure is not yet clear, it will include merging functions in the current President’s Office with those in the two Dean’s Offices to form one staff function. Moreover, CBS Business will no longer report to the President, and communication services will be divided into a strategic function and a support function.

CBS WIRE has questioned the President of CBS, Nikolaj Malchow-Møller about the consequences of the new organization, and whether it can result in layoffs, but he has not wished to comment at this time.

All the affected employees have received an invitation to a Microsoft Teams group where they can read more about the process, provide input to it and participate in workshops on the interfaces for units, functions and tasks. The Teams group also includes access to an article with a Q&A on the situation and process.

In response to the question “Is this a covert effort to save money, and am I at risk of being laid off?” it says:

“Overall, the reorganization is not an austerity measure. However, we must carefully examine which tasks CBS will be required to carry out in the future, and where those tasks are best located, as well as which competences we will need. Establishing one joint staff function is expected to free up administrative resources that can be used to ease the pressure on other units. Meanwhile, it cannot be ruled out that new employees will need to be recruited in some areas.” (The Q&A is only available in Danish and has been translated by CBS WIRE.)

However, according to the Q&A, “It is too early to respond concerning whether there will be layoffs and where.”

“That will depend on aspects such as the resource and competence surveys that we are currently initiating in the different areas. Administrative resources may also need to be added to other parts of CBS,” it continues.

The Senior Management will make the final decision on the structure of the new organization by the end of April, and expects it to come into effect when the Board of Directors approves the new strategy on June 3. But according to the Q&A on Teams, it is possible that, due to the lockdown, CBS will have to postpone it until either July 1 or August 1.

Tine Løvig Simonsen, Shop Steward for AC TAP personnel, and Tine Silfvander, Shop Steward for HK personnel, received news of the reorganization at a confidential meeting with the President of CBS on Tuesday March 24. HSU was informed at an extraordinary meeting on Friday March 27, and the employees of the affected units were told on Monday March 30.

“From what I hear, the announcement of the new organization has come as a surprise to many of the employees, but not all,” she says.

She explains that the shop stewards’ role is to make the process as smooth as possible for the affected employees, which is why the shop stewards have told the Senior Management that before thinking about layoffs, they should consider any other potential options.

“The President of CBS has said that this reorganization isn’t about cutbacks, but that it can lead to too many people having the same tasks and competences. In that situation, we must do what we can to either find other tasks in the organization for those people, or give them extra training so they can solve new tasks, before we lay off anyone. And the Senior Management agrees,” says Tine Løvig Simonsen.

Bad timing

Tine Silfvander, Shop Steward for HK employees at CBS, supports the idea of reorganizing CBS, however, she thinks the process is being rushed, and is leaving the affected employees with too little time to act and think things through.

“The affected employees received the announcement on Monday March 30, and during the coming weeks, they have to engage in workshops and such to discuss competencies and tasks across the units. And all of this is happening online, while a pandemic is keeping us at home,” she says and continues:

“I’m not against the new organization, but the timing is really bad. People have limited courses of action, as they can’t discuss this on campus with their colleagues. And being unable to act makes people insecure about the situation. It would be better if they had waited with this until the pandemic is over, at least.”

Tine Løvig Simonsen also supports the idea of making a new organization, but thinks waiting until everybody was back on campus would have been better.

“It’s problematic that the Senior Management is continuing with the process. They must be aware that it’s a challenge for people that they can’t meet face to face and talk things over, and it will create more uncertainty. I understand that the Senior Management wants to get the new organization in order before they can implement the strategy, but they should have waited,” she says.

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