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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2019

Michael Halinski and Linda Duxbury

Drawing from the workplace flexibility and coping literatures, the purpose of this paper is to re-conceptualize the workplace flexibility construct as a coping resource…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing from the workplace flexibility and coping literatures, the purpose of this paper is to re-conceptualize the workplace flexibility construct as a coping resource that may help prevent work-interferes-with-family (WIF) from arising and/or assist employees manage such interference when it has occurred. A measure capturing this re-conceptualized view of flexibility is developed and tested using two samples of dual-income employees with dependent care demands.

Design/methodology/approach

In Study 1, the authors use LISERL to develop and test a new multi-dimensional measure of workplace flexibility (n1=6,659). In Study 2 (n2=947), the authors use partial least squares, a component-based structural equation modeling technique, to test a model that posits workplace flexibility that helps employees cope with WIF.

Findings

This research provides support for the idea that workplace flexibility helps employees cope with WIF by: preventing interference (i.e. negatively moderating the relationship between work hours and WIF), and managing interference that has occurred (i.e. negatively moderating relationship between WIF and perceived stress).

Originality/value

This study highlights the complexity of the relationship between workplace flexibility and work-to-family interference and offers guidelines on how employers and employees can use the workplace flexibility measure developed in this study.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 49 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Vijaya Murthy and James Guthrie

The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact of social accounting at the micro level and examines the use of social reporting for constructive purposes through…

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2319

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact of social accounting at the micro level and examines the use of social reporting for constructive purposes through internal communication devices. It explores the discourse adopted by a large organisation in social accounting and reporting (workplace flexibility) through employee newsletters. In doing so the paper seeks to answer two research questions. First, what workplace flexibility practices are evident in the employee newsletters? Second, do management use discourse (including self-accounts) in newsletters for self-serving management control purposes or for the emancipatory purposes of benefiting employees?

Design/methodology/approach

Content and discourse analysis are used to examine “workplace flexibility” practices portrayed within the newsletters. This study explores the discourse adopted by a large Australian financial institution, in its social accounting disclosure in employee newsletters. It does so by examining the discourse adopted by the organisation in relation to one aspect of social accounting, that is, “workplace flexibility” in the employee newsletters over the period 2003-2007.

Findings

The paper finds the financial institution used its internal newsletters to influence employee attitude and behaviour, not as claimed for social “betterment” – justice, welfare, emancipation. The possibility of social accounting's emancipatory potential was suppressed by those responsible for providing the accounts. The paper found that management used discourse (including self-accounts) in the newsletters for self-serving management control purposes and not as claimed for benefiting employees.

Originality/value

The idea that the organisation provides workplace flexibility for the sake of benefitting employees is questionable. The discourse found in the newsletters suggests that flexible work options instead appear to be aimed at garnering employee loyalty, with subsequent employer benefits of improved organisational performance. The organisation used the discourse on workplace flexibility to blur the boundaries of work and life and persuade the employees to work harder and longer, to continuously increase productivity. In doing so, the organisation camouflaged its own economic sustainability and profitability as workplace flexibility.

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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.

Details

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

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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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11544

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 implicationsFlexibility 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.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 1998

Kung‐Jen Tu and Vivian Loftness

Despite discussions about the universal work station, there is increasing workplace dynamics in US organisations. These dynamics include space configuration changes, space…

Abstract

Despite discussions about the universal work station, there is increasing workplace dynamics in US organisations. These dynamics include space configuration changes, space enclosure changes, changes in occupant density and increasing equipment density. At the same time, building infrastructures have not evolved to meet these demands, with little flexibility in the heating, ventilation and air‐conditioning (HVAC), lighting, or electrical/telecommunication systems of new or existing office buildings. This paper examines the effects of organisational workplace dynamics and building infrastructure flexibility on the environmental and technical quality of offices. Resulting from extensive field studies in US buildings, the authors contend that there are numerous statistically significant issues for the design and management of buildings for the dynamic organisation. The study identified numerous factors that affect thermal, air, lighting and technical quality in offices. In relation to infrastructure, for example, occupants who work in office areas provided with greater cooling capacity and more supply air volume, and combined with smaller HVAC zones, appeared to have higher levels of thermal satisfaction. Those who work in areas with higher outlet densities gave higher technical quality ratings; and those provided with relocatable outlets (raised floor and furniture based) gave significantly higher technical satisfaction ratings than those provided with least‐first‐cost ‘tombstones’. In relation to organisational dynamics, increasing occupant densities in existing buildings are related to more thermal and air quality complaints, more complaints about outlet accessibility, as well as more complaints about inadequate light levels on work surfaces. This paper will outline the major findings of a study linking organisational dynamics with building infrastructure, moving towards the definition of innovations in facility design that will more effectively support dynamic organisations.

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Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2018

Mohammad A. Hassanain, Ali K. Alnuaimi and Muizz O. Sanni-Anibire

This paper aims to present an assessment of user satisfaction of an innovative workplace design, otherwise known as flexible workplaces.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present an assessment of user satisfaction of an innovative workplace design, otherwise known as flexible workplaces.

Design/methodology/approach

The study first sought to establish the level of flexibility of the workplace through the identification of flexibility criteria presented in a checklist format. In total, 29 criteria were identified and subsequently assigned weights by ten professionals. These professionals further assessed a case study office building through a walkthrough exercise to determine its level of flexibility. Furthermore, a post occupancy evaluation (POE) was conducted to assess the level of users’ satisfaction with functional performance elements. Questionnaire surveys were administered to 142 users, with a 63 per cent response rate. The feedback was analyzed and presented using the mean satisfaction index approach.

Findings

The results showed that the total flexibility achieved by the facility is 67.63 per cent, which is considered to be “averagely flexible”. The POE results also showed that users were strongly dissatisfied (SD) with the “adequate number of enclosed offices,” which is one of the corner-stones of flexibility where open-plan offices are strongly encouraged. Users expressed dissatisfaction with other issues, while their overall satisfaction with the facility was noted.

Originality/value

This study is based on the premise that innovative workplace facilities will only fulfill its intended objectives if designers consider the satisfaction of its users. The study makes a specific contribution in the assessment of workplace flexibility and occupants’ satisfaction of flexible workplaces. This will be of significant value to facility managers, designers and space planners involved in the design and management of workplace facilities.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Philip B. Whyman and Alina Ileana Petrescu

The purpose of this paper, with an organisational focus, is to offer a novel examination of the association between workforce nationality composition and workplace

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1386

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper, with an organisational focus, is to offer a novel examination of the association between workforce nationality composition and workplace flexibility practices (WFPs), an under-researched topic with high potential benefits at microeconomic and macroeconomic level.

Design/methodology/approach

British data are used, as the UK has experienced significant immigrant flows and has a relatively high level of labour market flexibility. The Workplace Employee Relations Survey 2011, sampling 2,500 British workplaces, offers for the first time data on workforce nationality. Via zero-inflated regressions, the number of non-UK nationals employed in a workplace is assessed against a wide range of numerical, functional and cost WFPs.

Findings

There are significant links between WFPs and the employment of non-UK nationals, and these are distinct for non-UK nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) when compared to non-UK nationals from outside the EEA. The former are more likely to be in “good” employment, with job security, working from home, job autonomy and training. Yet, both types of non-UK nationals are more likely to be employed in workplaces making high use of causal contracts. The implications of these results are discussed.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the need to research migration from a relatively new perspective of WFPs while also taking into account the diversity of non-UK nationals. The topic is of importance to organisations, as well as to labour market and migration policymakers. Timely results are of value in view of heightened interest in migration.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2018

Mansi Rastogi, Santosh Rangnekar and Renu Rastogi

It has been claimed that workplace flexibility is beneficial for employees as well as employers. However, not many studies have attempted to examine the impact of workplace

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1101

Abstract

Purpose

It has been claimed that workplace flexibility is beneficial for employees as well as employers. However, not many studies have attempted to examine the impact of workplace flexibility on employees. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of flexibility dimensions on quality of work life (QWL) of employees.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from a sample of 380 middle-level employees from service and manufacturing sector in India. Analyses were carried out using multiple regressions with the help of SPSS AMOS 21.

Findings

Flexibility in time and place as well as operations has a significant impact on QWL of middle-level employees. Additionally, flexibility in time and place is indicated to be a strong predictor for enhanced QWL particularly for married female employees as compared to their male counterparts. The type of organisation and sector also influences QWL of middle-level employees.

Research limitations/implications

This study has projected theoretical justification indicating how workplace flexibility satisfies needs of middle-level employees and promotes their QWL. It contributes to positive psychology literature by illustrating empirical evidence supporting the crucial role of flexibility at workplace in enhancing QWL of employees in India.

Practical implications

The findings may be valuable in all kinds of organisational settings when reviewing and proposing motivational employee well-being related policies. The empirical findings may have practical implications when it comes to designing jobs for enhanced work engagement.

Originality/value

The variables examined in this study reflect an understanding about how support mechanism at workplace creates a positive effect in employees’ well-being in unique cultural settings of India. Thus, this study is a significant contribution to the well-being literature in India.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 50 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2007

Ángel Martínez‐Sánchez, Ma José Vela‐Jiménez, Pilar de Luis‐Carnicer and Manuela Pérez‐Pérez

The purpose of the paper is to explain the impact of workplace flexibility on managers' perceptions of firm performance. The research focuses primarily on outsourcing, an…

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3486

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to explain the impact of workplace flexibility on managers' perceptions of firm performance. The research focuses primarily on outsourcing, an increasingly common way of creating workplace flexibility, by studying its antecedents based on several economic and organisational theories.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is a postal survey to a sample of 156 Spanish firms and statistical analysis.

Findings

The findings suggest that it is important to take into account different theoretical perspectives to explain the intensity of outsourcing: all proposed antecedents of the intensity of outsourcing except differentiation strategy and cooperation are significantly associated to outsourcing. There is not any significant relationship between outsourcing and firm performance; workplace internal flexibility does impact on firm performance but external flexibility does not. However, the results change according to the category of core and peripheral outsourcing.

Research limitations/implications

This study's single country setting could limit the generalizability of the findings. Longitudinal as opposed to cross‐sectional data are needed for studying the causal assumptions reported here. Future studies should also take a multiple‐source as opposed to a single‐source data collection approach. Finally, objective measures of outsourcing and firm performance, as well as moderated variables are needed to analyse differentiated impacts on firm performance.

Practical implications

This research makes two contributions to both practice and theory. First, the results show that the perceived impact of outsourcing on sub‐factors of firm performance is positive for peripheral activities and negative for core activities. Second, the research provides a framework to analyse the antecedents of outsourcing and the concurrent impact of outsourcing and other workplace flexibility dimensions on firm performance.

Originality/value

The paper explains outsourcing decisions by antecedents based on several economic and organisational theories. It also analyses the concurrent impact of outsourcing and other workplace flexibility dimensions on firm performance.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2008

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

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contribution of human resource (HR) commitment practices to firm performance through the adoption of workplace practices that…

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7584

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contribution of human resource (HR) commitment practices to firm performance through the adoption of workplace practices that require the organisational climate created by HR commitment practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a survey of 156 Spanish firms and statistical test of research hypotheses through structural equation modelling.

Findings

The results indicate that the extent that employees have access to HR commitment practices and HR social benefits is positively related to the intensity of telework adoption. Firm performance is positively associated to the intensity of telework adoption, functional flexibility and internal numerical flexibility, and negatively related to external numerical flexibility. HR commitment practices impact directly and indirectly on different measures of firm performance.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐sectional, survey‐based data that cannot infer causality. Longitudinal and qualitative designs are needed to get a better understanding of the relationships. A follow‐up study of employees perception of several variables analysed in this study (e.g. access to HR commitment practices and employee benefits) could reveal possible contradictions between what policies managers claim there exist, and what policies employees perceive to exist.

Practical implications

The adoption of HR commitment practices can facilitate the organisational change required by the adoption of telework.

Originality/value

The findings provide evidence that HR commitment practices are indirectly related to firm performance through their effects on the use of flexibility practices like telework that require organisational climates containing high levels of trust.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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