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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 January 2020

Carol Atkinson and Sarah Crozier

The purpose of this paper is to examine the marketization of domiciliary care, its consequences for employment practice, specifically fragmented time, and the implications…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the marketization of domiciliary care, its consequences for employment practice, specifically fragmented time, and the implications for care quality.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus groups and face-to-face or telephone interviews were conducted with care commissioners, service providers and care workers across Wales. There were 113 participants in total.

Findings

These demonstrate fragmented time’s negative consequences for service providers, care workers and, ultimately, care quality.

Research limitations/implications

No care recipients were interviewed and care quality was explored through the perceptions of other stakeholders.

Social implications

For policy makers, tensions are evidenced between aspirations for high-quality care and commissioning practice that mitigates against it. Current care commissioning practices need urgent review.

Originality/value

The research extends the definition of fragmented time and integrates with a model of care quality to demonstrate its negative consequences. Links between employment practice and care quality have only previously been hinted at.

Details

Employee Relations: The International Journal, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 March 2020

Mary Baginsky, Jo Moriarty, Jill Manthorpe and HHJ Carol Atkinson

The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss both the early implementation of a US mental health intervention for young children in the context of its introduction…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss both the early implementation of a US mental health intervention for young children in the context of its introduction to a pilot site in a London borough and the progress made in establishing a randomised controlled trial (RCT).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper describes an evaluation of a new intervention and the learning that followed in terms of its implementation and future evaluation. Qualitative data were collected from a range of stakeholders and practitioners through interviews and small group discussions. These interviews focussed on both of these issues, with particular reference to the proposal to conduct an RCT.

Findings

The findings of this evaluation add to the evidence on how best to support new initiatives that have been introduced from other settings and countries to embed in a receiving site and the optimal timing and feasibility of conducting an RCT. At the end of the feasibility study, which took place within the year of the service being introduced and which was only open to clients for six months of this year the conclusion was that an RCT at that point was neither possible nor desirable. Over the following years, the commitment of the judiciary to examine if there was a way to make an RCT study in respect of this intervention meant that a template was established that may well have broader application.

Research limitations/implications

At a time when there is an increasing demand for evidence on effective interventions this paper makes a valuable contribution to the development of RCTs in general and specifically in the family court arena. It also recommends that attention must also be paid to the time, which is needed to implement and establish interventions and then to test them.

Practical implications

This paper highlights the need to establish realistic timescales not only around the implementation of initiatives but also for their evaluation.

Originality/value

This study breaks new ground in considering implementation challenges in the court and children’s services’ context. It brings to the fore the important role of the judiciary in approving new processes.

Details

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-6660

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2019

Carol Atkinson and Els Pareit

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of psychological contracts of international business travellers (IBTs), a new form of expatriate that has arisen from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of psychological contracts of international business travellers (IBTs), a new form of expatriate that has arisen from the growing need for alternative forms of internationally mobile talent. The research is conducted in Belgium, a country recognised as a global hub in which international assignments are essential to economic success.

Design/methodology/approach

Research in respect of IBTs is limited and semi-structured interviews are used to explore Belgian employee perspectives.

Findings

The contract is more relational in nature than might be expected with an idiosyncratic mix of relational and transactional obligations.

Research limitations/implications

The research is small-scale and qualitative and not widely generalisable. Further it presents only employee perspectives. Nevertheless it generates rich insights into a phenomena about which little is known.

Practical implications

The findings develop understanding of how to manage the valuable strategic resource that is the IBT.

Originality/value

First, the research is of value to the International Human Resource Management field in developing understanding of a newly emerging form of international employee, the IBT. Second, it contributes to psychological contract research in both developing understanding the transactional/relational balance and in generating much-needed rich and nuanced qualitative data.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 48 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2021

Huiping Xian, Carol Atkinson and Yue Meng-Lewis

China's controversial one-child policy has been blamed for creating an ageing population, a generation of employees without siblings and a 4-2-1 family structure that…

Abstract

Purpose

China's controversial one-child policy has been blamed for creating an ageing population, a generation of employees without siblings and a 4-2-1 family structure that places eldercare responsibility, primarily on women. Current understanding of how this affects contemporary employees' work–life interface is lacking. This study examined the moderating roles of family structure and gender in the relationships between work–life conflict (WLC), job satisfaction and career aspiration for university academics.

Design/methodology/approach

Online and self-administered surveys were used to collect data, which involved 420 academic staff in three Chinese research universities.

Findings

Our results revealed that WLC is positively related to career aspiration, and this relationship is stronger for academics with siblings and, within the only-children group, significantly stronger for women than for men. WLC is also negatively related to job satisfaction, and this relationship is stronger for only-children academics.

Research limitations/implications

Results were limited by a cross-sectional sample of modest size. Nevertheless, this study contributes to the understanding of gender roles and changing family structure in the work–life interface of Chinese academics.

Practical implications

Our findings have implications for both universities seeking to improve staff well-being and for wider society. A number of support mechanisms are proposed to enhance the ability of only children, especially women, to operate as effective members of the labour market.

Originality/value

Our results showed that only-children academics face a unique set of difficulties across career and family domains, which have been previously neglected in literature.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 51 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

Rosemary Lucas and Carol Atkinson

1256

Abstract

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

Carol Atkinson and Laura Hall

This paper aims to explore the influence of flexible working on employee happiness and attitude, and the role of this within a high performance work system (HPWS).

18200

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the influence of flexible working on employee happiness and attitude, and the role of this within a high performance work system (HPWS).

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of flexible working within an NHS Acute Trust is presented. A qualitative study is undertaken based on 43 employee interviews across a range of directorates within the Trust.

Findings

Employees perceive that flexible working makes them “happy” and that there are attitudinal/behavioural links between this happiness, discretionary behaviour and a number of performance outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents a single case study with a relatively small sample which uses an inductive approach based on emergent data; it explores one element of a HPWS rather than an entire employment system. Respondents were volunteers, which raises the possibility of sample bias.

Practical implications

There may be a need for organisations to focus more on employee happiness to encourage performance. HR practitioners could reflect on the impact of HR practices on happiness and which features of a job role are likely to promote happiness.

Originality/value

This paper contributes a much‐needed employee perspective on the effect of HR practices, specifically that of flexible working, and explores the neglected employee attitude of happiness.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Laura Hall and Carol Atkinson

The purpose of this paper is to investigate employee perceptions of the flexibility they utilize or have available to them in an NHS Trust and relate these perceptions to…

12273

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate employee perceptions of the flexibility they utilize or have available to them in an NHS Trust and relate these perceptions to the concept of control.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a constructivist approach and uses semi‐structured interviews, allowing employees, in their own way, to explain what flexibility policies, and practice mean to them. The paper conducted 43 interviews and one focus group across five directorates, to include a range of staff levels and job types.

Findings

The findings in this paper show that informal rather than formal flexibility was more widely used and valued; and that, although staff needed to be proactive to access formal flexibility, some staff did not see formal flexibility as relevant to themselves; and informal flexibility generated an increased sense of employee responsibility. Uses the perspective of employee control over their working lives, in order to interpret the impact of flexible working.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that these findings may be context‐specific, and further investigation of informal flexible working is needed in different settings.

Practical implications

This paper shows that organizations need to communicate flexibility well, and train their managers' adequately but, critically, they need to understand what different forms of flexibility mean to employees, and how they are valued.

Originality/value

The paper shows the prevalence and value of informal flexible working, and its potential. Uses the concept of control to explain why different individuals value different forms of flexible working differentially.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 August 2007

Carol Atkinson

The purpose of the paper is to present research into the employment relationship in small firms and to examine its link to high performance. A psychological contract…

3298

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to present research into the employment relationship in small firms and to examine its link to high performance. A psychological contract framework is adopted, it being argued that this supports a more nuanced analysis than existing perspectives on the small firm employment relationship which are limited and do not give sufficient insight into performance issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employs a case study approach, carrying out 41 interviews involving both owner managers and employees in three firms. A critical incident technique (CIT) is adopted in the interviews.

Findings

The paper finds that high performance derives from a relational psychological contract and that transactional contracts impact negatively on performance. It is also demonstrated that, contrary to what is implied in much of the existing small firm literature, small firms are capable of building relational contracts.

Research limitations

The research in this paper is drawn from a small‐scale study and is not generalisable. It does, however, provide a basis for a more detailed study of the small firm employment relationship.

Practical implications

The research in the paper demonstrates the value of building a relational psychological contract in order to drive high performance. It also gives insight into how this can be done in the small firm context and the importance of the owner manager approach to this.

Originality/value

The paper presents more nuanced ways of exploring the small firm employment relationship than already exist and also considers the issue of performance, which is under‐researched in this context.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2007

Carol Atkinson

This paper aims to contribute empirical data to the under‐researched relationship between trust and the psychological contract.

22079

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute empirical data to the under‐researched relationship between trust and the psychological contract.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach is used carrying out 41 interviews in three case study firms, adopting a critical incident technique (CIT).

Findings

Trust is present in all psychological contracts and its different bases, cognitive and affective, underpin transactional and relational obligations respectively.

Research limitations/implications

A small‐scale study using CIT which identifies especially salient issues but is not necessarily exhaustive. Provides a base for more detailed study of the relationship.

Practical implications

Demonstrates the impact of the differing bases of trust on the employment relationship. This information could contribute to better managing the employment relationship.

Originality/value

There are few extant empirical data on this relationship and a contribution is made to debates on the role of trust within the psychological contract by providing detailed empirical data.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Carol Atkinson and Peter Cuthbert

This paper sets out to investigate the effect of position in the organisational hierarchy on an employee's psychological contract.

3787

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to investigate the effect of position in the organisational hierarchy on an employee's psychological contract.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a statistical analysis of secondary data taken from the Working in Britain 2000 (WIB) dataset, an ESRC/CIPD funded study, to investigate the perspectives on the content of the psychological contract of different employee groups, namely managers, supervisors and “shop floor” employees.

Findings

The results show that differences do emerge between different groups of employee, managers having a generally more relational contract. These differences are not, however, as large as may be expected and, for some aspects of the psychological contract, there are also considerable similarities between all the groups.

Research limitations/implications

Analysis is limited by the data present in the dataset, meaning that certain aspects of the psychological contract, for example, trust, are not as fully explored as is desirable.

Practical implications

The research has implications for how to appropriately manage the employment relationships of differing employee groups.

Originality/value

Most existing empirical data assume that there is “a” psychological contract within an organisation and the findings from this research demonstrate that the position is, in fact, more complex.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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