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WSU Newsline: Does recession mean the holiday party is over?
Monday, December 15, 2008 10:43 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs. If you have additional questions for Jim Wolff after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-7113 or jim.wolff@wichita.edu.

Background:
Most companies have holiday parties. The last time there was a big drop in holiday parties was after 9/11. That has now been topped by 2008 when only 81 percent of companies are planning to have holiday parties, according to an executive search firm. Jim Wolff, associate professor of management at Wichita State University, says holiday parties can be viewed as a morale booster or an extravagance.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Although most companies will have holiday parties this year, the number is dropping. Tough economic times mean tough decisions for management, according to Jim Wolff, associate professor of management at Wichita State University.

Wolff: "In these difficult times, employers certainly face the problem of public views or employee views as Christmas parties as an extravagance, but they can also be a time of showing appreciation for employees."

Announcer: Managers or business owners need to scrutinize their own particular situation. According to Wolff, Christmas parties may be appropriate. Alternatives are to help out the community by making donations or volunteering time to charitable organizations. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Wolff says during tough economic times, management has to evaluate everything, including holiday parties. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "Christmas party."

Wolff: "In difficult times, recessionary times, any business owner, large, small, medium sized, really have to make an individualized adjustment, judgment call on whether their firm should have a Christmas party."

Sound bite #2
Wolff says it's not a good idea for a company to have a holiday party if layoffs are expected. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "for the employees."

Wolff: "If the company is faced with the possibility of layoffs early in the following year, it's probably not a good idea to have a big, extravagant Christmas party for the employees."

Sound bite #3
Wolff says canceling a holiday party can send a signal to employees. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "individualized decision."

Wolff: "In tough times, employers need to be very judicious in their decisions whether they want to have or not have a Christmas party, because either way you send a signal to employees, to the public, and that's an individualized decision."

Sound bite #4
Wolff says public scrutiny may be a factor for some companies. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is "very problematic."

Wolff: "If you're a large company and you have a high profile, and particularly Wall Street firms or the auto companies, having Christmas parties, anything that is viewed as attracting undue attention with the public taxpayers — that can be very problematic."

Sound bite #5
Wolff says each management team needs to scrutinize its situation in determining whether to have a holiday party. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "that's maybe hard hit."

Wolff: "Managers or business owners need to scrutinize their own particular situation. Christmas parties may be appropriate. Alternatives are to make donations to charitable organizations or volunteer time and employees to charitable organizations to help out in the community that's maybe hard hit."

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Contact: Jim Wolff, (316) 978-7113 or jim.wolff@wichita.edu.
Created on Dec 15, 2008 10:43 AM; Last modified on Dec 15, 2008 10:43 AM