Search results

1 – 10 of over 25000
To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Raul Eamets and Krista Jaakson

Recent economic recession has highlighted the role of labour market flexibility as a key factor of competitiveness of a country. Despite the fact that labour mobility can…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent economic recession has highlighted the role of labour market flexibility as a key factor of competitiveness of a country. Despite the fact that labour mobility can essentially be seen as part of labour market flexibility, there is notable research gap concerning spatial mobility and other facets of labour market flexibility. The purpose of this special issue is to fill these gaps.

Design/methodology/approach –

The papers in the special issue represent various quantitative methods and databases, whereas mainly micro data (workplace, labour force or immigrant surveys, job search portal, etc.) is used. However, the type of labour market flexibility addressed is both micro- and macro-level.

Findings

It is demonstrated that labour occupational mobility is determined by the business cycle, numerical flexibility, occupational categories, and sector. Spatial mobility may have counterintuitive effects on individual occupational mobility depending on gender and it is related to various flexibilities in the workplace. It is also suggested that different types of flexibilities on a firm level are interdependent of each other.

Originality/value

The special issue adds to the labour market related knowledge by integrating labour market flexibility and mobility. Individually, both phenomena have been studied before, but not much research is devoted to their inter-linkages. The special issue also contributes by examining labour market flexibility and spatial mobility in the context of different countries, economic cycles, and institutional settings.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Corinne M. Karuppan

This empirical study identifies individual, organizational, and job factors of the range‐number element of labor flexibility. Tenure and emotional stability are found to…

Abstract

This empirical study identifies individual, organizational, and job factors of the range‐number element of labor flexibility. Tenure and emotional stability are found to increase a worker's flexibility. Emphases on quality, speed, and flexibility (time) also have positive influences on labor flexibility. Finally, task complexity, joint responsibility for decision making, and automation require workers to expand their skill repertoire and therefore enhance their flexibility. This study focuses on a sound measurement of labor flexibility and proposes strategies to cultivate this capability.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 53 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Content available
Article

Jan De Leede, Linda Drupsteen, Esther Schrijver, Anneke Goudswaard, Nihat Dağ, Joost Van der Weide and Sarike Verbiest

The purpose of this paper is to understand how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) cope with the need for labour flexibility. Most previous studies ignore the labour

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) cope with the need for labour flexibility. Most previous studies ignore the labour flexibility practices of SMEs, especially in times of economic growth and tight labour markets.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple case study approach is applied, with ten Dutch SMEs located in one small province with a similar labour market. A survey was executed as an intake, followed by 48 interviews with the entrepreneurs, HR and other managers and employees, and two focus groups in each company. The findings are based on an analysis of the approved case descriptions.

Findings

SMEs, like big companies, do not rely on one flexibility practice. Volume fluctuations are countered with all flexibility strategies, the mix fluctuations and the product innovations are mostly countered with flexible functions and flexible production technology. In general, the data suggest that flexibility strategies of SMEs can be characterised as ad hoc, reactive and with a short-term orientation.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should include other sectors and regions enabling to generalise the findings. Future research should have a longitudinal design to include the pathway dependencies of flexibility practices.

Practical implications

This study identifies the need to analyse flexibility demands; reduce flexibility demands before investments in flexibility practices; create production process flexibility; invest in labour flexibility practices only after the first three steps are taken; and develop basic and more advanced levels of flexible contracts, flexible functions and flexible working times.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the authors’ knowledge on the use of labour flexibility practices in SMEs. In addition, it brings empirical data on how these labour flexibility practices relate to the needs for flexibility and how they relate to other sources of organisational flexibility, such as a flexible market approach and flexible production technologies. Dynamic capabilities should include the suggested operationalisation of the flexibility practices.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 49 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Jan C. Looise, Maarten van Riemsdijk and Frans de Lange

Despite important differences in labour flexibility patterns in different countries and despite clear indications of the important role of institutional factors with…

Abstract

Despite important differences in labour flexibility patterns in different countries and despite clear indications of the important role of institutional factors with respect to HRM, to date there has been little research on the interaction between the institutional context and the HRM of companies. This paper seeks to address this issue with regard to labour flexibility strategies and reveals a promising approach to learning how the development of a topic, such as labour flexibility, takes place in practice. The case of The Netherlands clearly shows the interaction between the institutional context and company flexibility strategies. The institutional context was found to influence company strategies but, in return, these strategies were later seen to impact the institutional setting. In The Netherlands the system of labour relations has been adapted in response to calls from companies for more flexible labour relations. This has led to changes in labour laws and regulations, which, in turn, have stimulated new company strategies.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Heinz‐Josef Tüselmann

Analyses the tensions between change and continuity in the German model of labour flexibility and examines why recent deregulation and decentralization measures only had a…

Abstract

Analyses the tensions between change and continuity in the German model of labour flexibility and examines why recent deregulation and decentralization measures only had a limited impact on companies’ flexibility approaches. Addresses the subsequent issues of how, and to what extent the framework for the several forms of flexibility should be broadened in the particular German context, where the institutional/regulatory environment has encouraged the widespread adoption of a diversified quality production strategy, based on high levels of functional flexibility. Concludes that a large section of German companies may already operate near an optional labour flexibility mix. Suggests system internal reforms based on regulated flexibility and centrally co‐ordinated decentralization, in order to enhance, to some extent, the framework for flexibility without undermining the underlying incentive structure for high skills/high productivity approaches to flexibility.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Jeremy Buultjens and Dennis Howard

The search for labour flexibility has assumed great importance in most developed countries and has been the catalyst for the deregulation which has occurred, and continues…

Abstract

The search for labour flexibility has assumed great importance in most developed countries and has been the catalyst for the deregulation which has occurred, and continues to occur, in the Australian labour market. However, despite this, the question remains whether deregulation of the labour market in Australia is necessary for the attainment of flexibility since the empirical evidence is inconclusive. Industry representatives from the hospitality sector argue that a high degree of labour flexibility is a vital component in being able to meet market demands and achieve a competitive environment. Using data from a study of 435 registered clubs in the Australian state of NSW, areas of labour flexibility which these hospitality enterprises value are examined. Managers’ perceptions of the impact of awards and trade unions on the ability of the enterprises to achieve labour flexibility in a variety of areas are also examined. It was found that while there was a perception by managers that awards and trade unions did have a moderate to low impact or restriction on labour flexibility, the impact was not perceived to be as great as the proponents of deregulation would suggest. It is argued that registered clubs are choosing not to enter into formal enterprise bargaining because of this perceived low/moderate level of award and trade union impact on labour flexibility.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Stefan Zagelmeyer and Markus Heckmann

The research question which this paper aims to address is: To what extent does (labour) flexibility contribute to crisis resistance at establishment level? More…

Abstract

Purpose

The research question which this paper aims to address is: To what extent does (labour) flexibility contribute to crisis resistance at establishment level? More specifically, the authors seek to analyse the determinants of variation in the extent to which establishments showed resistance to the global financial crisis (GFC), i.e. the extent to which they were affected by the crisis, focusing on an available secondary dataset related to organizational, industry‐level, and (numerical) labour flexibility.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a unique cross‐sectional dataset of 8,000 establishments in Germany, the authors use binary logistic regression to assess the link between organizational characteristics, industry‐specific factors and workforce characteristics, and the fact that some establishments were affected by the GFC while others were not affected.

Findings

Establishment size, being located in western Germany and business problems before the crisis were positively associated with being affected by the crisis. The sector of economic activity also played a significant role. Contrary to predictions relating to the strategies employed by flexible firms, the extent to which they made use of temporary agency workers or of fixed‐term employees showed no significant association with crisis resistance.

Practical implications

The dependent variable measures the management respondent's (subjective) perception of being affected by the crisis, although it does not specify the ways in which a company has been affected, for example by a drop in demand or by difficulty in extending credit. The set of independent variables permits several tentative conclusions regarding numerical and functional flexibility, but it does not take alternative forms of flexibility into account.

Originality/value

Using a unique and representative dataset, the findings suggest a less important role for numerical flexibility in establishment performance and crisis resistance when compared to other variables, at least within the authors’ research framework and its exceptional external economic circumstances.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Hulya Julie Yazici

The effects of cellular manufacturing (CM) on increased delivery speed and resource utilization along with its interaction with volume, mix, routing, and labor

Abstract

Purpose

The effects of cellular manufacturing (CM) on increased delivery speed and resource utilization along with its interaction with volume, mix, routing, and labor flexibilities are not clear for manufacturers and supply chain managers. Aims to focus on this.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on real data from a US screen‐printing company, a simulation model is designed to determine the influence of volume, mix, routing and labor flexibilities in presence of volatile demand. Simulation of one and two cell configuration is compared with job shop to determine the shortest delivery and highest utilization.

Findings

As volume flexibility increases, delivery is faster in presence of CM compared to job shop. Furthermore, added routing flexibility results in 70 percent shorter lead time with low volume flexibility, and 85 percent shorter lead time with high volume flexibility. Additionally, in the two‐cell design, assignment of fewer, but more multi‐skilled workers shared between cells results in higher utilization and lower lead time.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the manufacturing research by revealing the benefits of CM, and the importance of volume, routing, and labor flexibilities reacting quickly to volatile demand in today's dispersed manufacturing environment. Also, this study demonstrates that labor allocation is equally important in manufacturing cells as the equipment and part decisions are.

Originality/value

The findings provide manufacturers a guideline on how to best set up CM and operational flexibilities to respond faster to volatile demand. The simulation model is successful in showing that cells and manufacturing flexibilities are strong enablers of faster delivery lead time and higher resource utilization.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 16 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Gulshan Chauhan

As the manufacturing industry is under pressure to face the global competition, it is necessary to improve productivity and reduce costs through minimization of wastage of…

Abstract

Purpose

As the manufacturing industry is under pressure to face the global competition, it is necessary to improve productivity and reduce costs through minimization of wastage of resources for their survival. This paper aims to present an analysis of the status of resource flexibility and lean manufacturing through conducting a case study in an Indian textile machinery manufacturing company and also demonstrate the various areas of future scope for improving lean manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study has been conducted using the flexible system methodology (FSM) framework (Sushil, 1994). For measuring resource (labour and machine) flexibility and lean manufacturing, various factors contributing towards labour flexibility, machine flexibility and lean manufacturing are identified. To determine their relative weights, an analytical hierarchy process (AHP) has been used. A specially designed questionnaire is used to collect the information during case study on different aspects of resource flexibility and lean manufacturing. SAP-LAP analysis has also been carried out to look in to the ways the company is building up resource flexibility and lean manufacturing.

Findings

The status of labour flexibility, machine flexibility and lean manufacturing is merely 49.30, 47.10 and 47.40 per cent, respectively. The most important factors of labour flexibility and machine flexibility attained a value of 59.50 and 61.17 per cent, respectively. Similarly, only 39.09 per cent wastes are eliminated through lean manufacturing. There is a huge scope to achieve a higher degree of lean manufacturing through focusing on continuous improvement, just in time (JIT) and resource flexibility factors.

Research limitations/implications

The present study includes only labour and machines to compute the resource flexibility. Other resources may also be included to compute the overall resource flexibility.

Practical implications

The present study provides guidelines to analyze the status of resource flexibility and lean manufacturing. According to conclusions, frail areas in the manufacturing system can be identified and a suitable course of action could be planned for the improvement. Hopefully, this study will help the firm’s management to identify the problems to manage resource flexibility and implement an effective lean manufacturing.

Originality/value

In this work, the theoretical perspective has been used not only to update the original instrument, but also to study the subject from a perspective beyond that usually associated with resource flexibility and lean manufacturing.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article

Tom Vander Steene, Luc Sels, Geert Van Hootegem, Hans De Witte and Anneleen Forrier

In this paper we evaluate the impact of the institutional context on the politics of flexibility. We examine whether differences in institutional embedding lead to…

Abstract

In this paper we evaluate the impact of the institutional context on the politics of flexibility. We examine whether differences in institutional embedding lead to differences in the way in which companies seek to achieve flexibility. Belgium and The Netherlands were selected for comparison on the reasons for their different flexibility mix. The conclusions are based on both a macro‐economic analysis of national statistics and a micro‐economic analysis of organisations in both countries. The main conclusion is that the institutional frameworks of Belgium and The Netherlands have been built up along different lines. Dutch legislation encourages contractual flexibility. The Belgian institutional context focuses more on temporal flexibility. A competition for the greatest flexibility has little point given these observations. It is not a question of more or less, but of different flexibility. A wider significance of the comparison is that it clearly demonstrates that evaluations fail if the different components of the institutional framework and flexibility are not studied in their close mutual interrelationship.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 26 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 25000