The purpose of this paper is to shed light upon the reasons why knowledge workers are offered considerable autonomy, and the extent to which they are given the freedom to determine how and when they work.
In order to examine the level of flexibility available to knowledge workers, a large consultancy firm was investigated using a case‐study approach.
The results obtained from the case‐study firm demonstrate the reasons why consultants are afforded temporal and locational flexibility and the degree of flexibility available to them. Contrary to the claims of “futurists”, many knowledge workers are not able to exercise greater control over their working arrangements than traditional employees, as their temporal/locational flexibility is restricted by the needs of their employer(s), client demands and expectations, “professionalism”, network relations and personal career ambitions.
The role played by knowledge workers in the new knowledge economy and the extent to which they are able to extract concessions from their employers have become key areas of interest for organisations, academics and policy makers. Consultancy characterises many of the changes that are being elicited with the emergence of a knowledge‐based economy, and an analysis of the working arrangements available to consultants provides an insight into the degree to which they are given freedom to determine how and when they work and the extent to which they may be defined as “free workers”.
Donnelly, R. (2006), "How “free” is the free worker? An investigation into the working arrangements available to knowledge workers", Personnel Review, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 78-97. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480610636803Download as .RIS
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