Elon Musk’s underlings at Tesla are accustomed to chaos. It comes with the territory of working for a chief executive who sets exacting targets and often abruptly switches directions — whose biographer describes his more intense moods as "demon mode.”

But even by Tesla standards, this year has been unruly. Its stock has slid more than 40% amid slumping sales, confusing product decisions and more price cuts. Its once-dominant position in China’s EV market is under assault. A visit with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an anticipated investment announcement was called off at the last minute. All the while, the board has tried to revive a $56 billion payout to Musk that a judge voided in January, on the grounds that directors had acted as "supine servants” to the CEO.

On Tuesday, Tesla is expected to report a 40% plunge in operating profit and its first revenue decline in four years. Musk has ordered up the company’s biggest layoffs ever and staked its future on a next-generation, self-driving vehicle concept called the robotaxi. People familiar with his directives, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations, are unsettled by the changes the CEO wants to push through.