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Flexibility on whose terms?

Linda J. Twiname (Department of Strategic Management and Leadership, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Maria Humphries (The School of Management, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Kate Kearins (Faculty of Business, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 May 2006

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4119

Abstract

Purpose

As part of an ongoing project on worker well‐being, this paper aims to examine the application of flexible work arrangements through the experiences of core workers in a small, European‐owned, New Zealand manufacturing firm.

Design/methodology/approach

A participatory action research approach is taken.

Findings

The research reveals that flexible employment arrangements utilised in this firm did not afford protection to core workers as theory suggests. Both core and peripheral workers were exposed to pressure primarily to extend their hours of work and to reduce their expectations regarding remuneration. Production level increases were not reflected in increases in numbers of core workers; in fact perceived job security was low. Core workers felt pressure to work extended hours out of their commitment to the firm, each other, and to maintain their own employment.

Practical implications

The use of more democratic processes inherent in action research oriented at workplace well‐being are shown to have had some value toward enhancing worker well‐being.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates that the participative project placed pressure upon management and that it had the potential to redress a power imbalance within the employment relationship.

Keywords

Citation

Twiname, L.J., Humphries, M. and Kearins, K. (2006), "Flexibility on whose terms?", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 335-355. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534810610668346

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited