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Book part
Publication date: 30 June 2016

P. Matthijs Bal and Paul G. W. Jansen

As demographic changes impact the workplace, governments, organizations, and workers are looking for ways to sustain optimal working lives at higher ages. Workplace…

Abstract

As demographic changes impact the workplace, governments, organizations, and workers are looking for ways to sustain optimal working lives at higher ages. Workplace flexibility has been introduced as a potential way workers can have more satisfying working lives until their retirement ages. This chapter presents a critical review of the literature on workplace flexibility across the lifespan. It discusses how flexibility has been conceptualized across different disciplines, and postulates a definition that captures the joint roles of employer and employee in negotiating workplace flexibility that contributes to both employee and organization benefits. Moreover, it reviews how flexibility has been theorized and investigated in relation to older workers. The chapter ends with a future research agenda for advancing understanding of how workplace flexibility may enhance working experiences of older workers, and in particular focuses on the critical investigation of uses of flexibility in relation to older workers.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-263-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Paul F. Skilton

Organizational flexible integration capability equips organizations to deal with the whole range of problems presented by dynamic environments. Adopting the language of…

Abstract

Organizational flexible integration capability equips organizations to deal with the whole range of problems presented by dynamic environments. Adopting the language of dynamic capability research we advance four components that constitute flexible integration capability. These are a dominant logic of opportunity, a wide variety of problem solving projects, the deployment of portable integration expertise, and organizational practices support the development of portable integration expertise. Of these four portable integration expertise is a purely individual level capability. Organization level flexible integration capability is founded on the development of portable integration expertise by individuals. Organizations can facilitate portable integration expertise by structuring careers, valuing long term goals and objectives, adopting knowledge management practices and being receptive to external sources of knowledge.

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The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1055-3185

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2012

Silvia Gherardi and Annalisa Murgia

The article conceptualizes the dilemma between exploration and exploitation for flexible knowledge workers. At a time when work is fragmented and society is…

Abstract

The article conceptualizes the dilemma between exploration and exploitation for flexible knowledge workers. At a time when work is fragmented and society is individualized, we consider, besides the strategies of organizations, also those of workers and the ways in which they move among organizations in an attempt to ‘get by’ between increased margins of autonomy and a lack of the resources necessary to pursue their passions and to fulfil their projects. Through analysis of the life stories of flexible knowledge workers and their relationships with the organizations for which they work, the article illustrates how flexible knowledge workers handle the tension between exploration and exploitation and how organizations resist their attempts. The purpose is to interpret the pervasiveness of individualization processes that prompt individuals to think of themselves as organizations, while human resource management claim that people are their most valuable resource but treat them as disposable workers.

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Managing ‘Human Resources’ by Exploiting and Exploring People’s Potentials
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-506-7

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2008

Terry O'Brien and Helen Hayden

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in…

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7111

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in relation to work life balance, family friendly work arrangements, leave entitlements and diverse modes of flexible work in Ireland. Focuses in particular on the Library and Information sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Introduces the concept of flexible working, followed by a review of relevant literature. Outlines what flexible work practices are, giving details of various types of flexible working, both statutory and non‐statutory (in Ireland). Then, discusses why flexible work practices have emerged and details background legislation and the issues that the introduction of flexible working raises. Draws conclusions about best practice in relation to the management of flexible work practices.

Findings

It is argued that commitment to work life balance is now firmly in the mainstream and is part of the political agenda in Ireland and the rest of the developed world. Flexibility in work practice is becoming an integral part of employment, particularly in public sector organisations, which are in effect, leading the way on this issue. Flexible work practices have many advantages for both employees and employers. They also create challenges, especially in terms of management. It is important to balance the requirements of the organisation with those of the employees. Key factors in the successful implementation of flexible working are training and communication.

Originality/value

The article provides a firm basis for further investigation and discussion.

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Library Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 2 January 2007

Angel Martínez Sánchez, Manuela Pérez Pérez, Pilar de Luis Carnicer and Maria José Vela Jiménez

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between teleworking adoption, workplace flexibility, and firm performance. Design/methodology/approach

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11350

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between teleworking adoption, workplace flexibility, and firm performance. Design/methodology/approach – Empirical survey of a representative sample of 479 small‐ and medium‐sized firms. Data gathered through interviews with company managers using a structured questionnaire. A t‐test used to analyse the mean differences of flexibility dimensions between companies, and a regression analysis used to study the impact of teleworking and other flexible workplace practices on firm performance. Findings – Firm performance is positively related to the use of teleworking, flexitime, contingent work and spatial decentralisation. Teleworking firms use more flexitime, have more employees involved in job design and planning, are more intensively managed by results, and use more variable compensation. The relationship of teleworking and external workplace flexibility is not so conclusive. Measures of external flexibility like subcontracting or contingent work are not associated with teleworking but spatial decentralisation is positively associated. Research limitations/implications – A limitation of this research is the measurement of flexibility at the firm level and the use of cross‐sectional data. To the extent that organisations may obtain functional and numerical flexibility by means of their relations to other organisations in networks, the most appropriate unit of analysis may be the network which it has implications for future longitudinal studies. Practical implications – Flexibility is a source of competitive advantage. Enhancing flexibility may be costly in the short run, but it gets easier over time. Firms become more flexible because their managers emphasise the importance of flexibility and because they practice being flexible. A self‐reinforcing process then begins. The relationships between the different forms of flexibility are important to understand the interaction between the dynamic control capacity of management and the responsiveness of the organisation. Originality/value – The article analyses the relationship between teleworking adoption and other flexibility dimensions.

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Personnel Review, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

Andrés Hatum and Andrew M. Pettigrew

This paper examines the processes of organizational adaptation and competitiveness of firms in an emerging economy (Argentina). The empirical focus of this paper concerns…

Abstract

This paper examines the processes of organizational adaptation and competitiveness of firms in an emerging economy (Argentina). The empirical focus of this paper concerns the determinants of organizational flexibility during the period from 1989 to 1999, when a combination of economic and political change triggered a massive change in the competitive context of indigenous firms. Two companies in the pharmaceutical industry were selected, one that was flexible (Sidus) and one that was less flexible (DER.S.A.). Longitudinal data are supplied to explore the determinants of organizational flexibility in those organizations.

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Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2009

Therese A. Joiner, X. Sarah Yang Spencer and Suzanne Salmon

Against a background of a customization imperative embraced by manufacturing firms in industrialised nations and the concomitant call for more balanced performance…

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2583

Abstract

Purpose

Against a background of a customization imperative embraced by manufacturing firms in industrialised nations and the concomitant call for more balanced performance measurement systems (PMS), this study seeks to examine the mediating role of both non‐financial and financial performance measures in the relationship between a firm's strategic orientation of flexible manufacturing and organisational performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A path‐analytical model is adopted using questionnaire data from 84 Australian manufacturing firms.

Findings

The results indicate that, first, firms emphasising a flexible manufacturing strategy utilise non‐financial as well as financial performance measures; second, these performance measures are associated with higher organisational performance; and third, there is a positive association between a firm's strategic emphasis on flexible manufacturing and organisation performance via non‐financial and financial performance measures.

Practical implications

While there is agreement on the beneficial role of non‐financial performance measures in supporting strategic priorities associated with customization strategies, equivocal research results have emerged on the role of financial performance measures in this context. The study underscores the importance of both non‐financial and financial performance measures in this context.

Originality/value

The paper reinstates the value of financial performance measures for firms pursuing customization type strategies and adds to one's knowledge of PMSs by exploring the intervening role of such systems in linking flexible manufacturing strategy to organisation performance.

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International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 58 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1998

Jenni Gilleard

Argues that although flexible working is becoming increasingly common, training departments are not creatively adapting their strategies. Provides a framework within which…

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498

Abstract

Argues that although flexible working is becoming increasingly common, training departments are not creatively adapting their strategies. Provides a framework within which to redefine the role of flexible trainers in more opportunistic, value‐added directions. Suggests the need to recognise non‐permanent professional trainers as a distinct group from permanent staff. Analyses attitudes of six English as a second language (ESL) peripheral practitioners, who typify one coherent group of the free agent training sector. Indicates concept of flexibility was viewed positively but lacked adequate support from employing organizations. Proposes various approaches for redefining flexibility to enhance organizational competitiveness and effectiveness, and individual performance and commitment.

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Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 22 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1991

Colin Coulson‐Thomas

Creating a more responsive organisation andsecuring flexible access to skill is becoming acritical success requirement. Large bureaucraticorganisations are becoming aware…

Abstract

Creating a more responsive organisation and securing flexible access to skill is becoming a critical success requirement. Large bureaucratic organisations are becoming aware of the vulnerability of size where it is not accompanied by responsiveness and flexibility. Skill shortages have become a limiting factor. People today have an unprecedented choice of for whom, how and where they work. There are many special human situations which can be addressed by a new pattern of work such as telecommuting. Organisations should not impose particular patterns of work on people. Instead, using information technology as appropriate, they should allow people to work in whatever ways best enable them to contribute. To do this may require a new approach to skill management strategy. The successful implementation of a new pattern of work such as telecommuting requires great care and an understanding of its distinctive features. Preparation for telecommuting should involve both the telecommuters themselves and those who manage them.

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Employee Relations, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2009

Sergio Koc‐Menard

This paper seeks to explore how organizations might create flexible work programs to attract and retain older workers.

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1835

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore how organizations might create flexible work programs to attract and retain older workers.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the literature on aging and work, the paper identifies an incoming HR challenge (leveraging an aging workforce), focuses on a strategy (designing flexible work programs) and reviews some innovative programs in Europe and North America.

Findings

The paper identifies three lessons. The first is to adopt a portfolio approach, which means to combine and integrate diverse dimensions of work flexibility (work schedule, number of hours worked and so on). The second is to offer flexible work options to retired employees. The third is to align flexible work opportunities with pension scheme options.

Originality/value

Labor market experts predict a steady increase in the number of older workers who will extend their work life or work during retirement. A number of surveys, in turn, report that people are more likely to seek flexible work options as they age. The paper provides practical advice that will help organizations to prepare for the demographic changes coming and to develop effective flexible work programs for older employees.

Details

Strategic HR Review, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-4398

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