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Observer, ahhh, you may have misread "execution" but my sarcasm didn't help. The study's "execution" was in reference to "getting to work on a plan" like "bring to successful completion" of a task.
But you are right, a leader needs to exercise caution when downsizing. He would need to let go of just the right number of people.
It seems to me that strategy, to a large extent, is going to be at least somewhat dictated by culture. As to "execution", in the sense of layoffs, if I were a stockholder in a corporation, I would definitely prefer a CEO who laid off as many employees as necessary; the alternative is to watch my investment circle the bowl on the way down. If the company goes under, all of the employees are out of a job and all I have to show for my investment is a tax write-off.