Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 1-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Honors Designation


Program of Study

Communication - Corporate Communication



First Advisor

Minna Logemann

Second Advisor

Michael Bayer

Third Advisor

Caryn Medved


In 2022 and 2023, over 400,000 employees in the technology sector were laid off. This study conducted a thematic analysis using coding on memos announcing layoffs sent by leaders at Meta, Google, and Microsoft in late 2022 and early 2023. This study also conducted an analysis of layoff memos sent by leaders of Google and Microsoft in 2009 for comparison. Key findings include that writing to multiple stakeholders in the 2022/2023 memos produced novel contradictions and paradoxes that may impede employee sensemaking, that 2022/2023 memos used more passive and distancing language that disconnected the leader from the layoff decision and its impacts, and that the Controller was the most common leadership discourse used (with the Therapist coming in behind it) in the 2022/2023 memos. Recommendations are provided to future change communications practitioners for composing layoff memos and to researchers for possible future lines of inquiry.



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