significant amount of organizational restructuring that has occurred in the past two decades. Restructuring has taken a variety of forms, but three are most salient in their effects on work structures and occupations: (1) downsizing, (2) flattening organizational hierarchies and greater reliance on teams for both vertical and horizontal coordination, and (3) changing employment practices and relations.
Downsizing has led to increased job insecurity, particularly for managerial employees. When evaluating the evidence on changes in job security, it is important to differentiate changes in job stability from job displacement. Stability, as measured by average tenure, is a function of both voluntary and involuntary quits. The best evidence from national samples indicates that at best there has been only a rather small decline in overall job stability in the 1990s. Job displacement, (i.e., involuntary quits or terminations) however, shows a decline from a peak in the recession years of 1981–1983 but then an increase again in the early 1990s. Perceptions of job security, as reported in survey data from nationally representative samples in 1985 and 1995, also declined. Consistent with the evidence from the other surveys discussed above, the declines in job security have been greater for managerial employees than for others. For example, over two-thirds (68 percent) of employers reported in one survey that they provided employment security for managerial employees in the past but no longer do so.
Thus, changes in employment stability and security might be summarized as follows: (1) involuntary separations have increased, particularly for managerial employees in large firms, (2) voluntary quits have declined, and (3) perceptions of job security have declined. This does not, however, add up to a picture of the disappearance of all long-term jobs, as some popular reports on downsizing and restructuring suggest. It does, however, mean that the employment relationship has become more uncertain. At the same time that firms were downsizing, many were also hiring. This was particularly true of smaller firms. This high level of