Towards Organizational Flexicurity?

[We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Andreas Kornelakis of the School of Business, Management and Economics at the University of Sussex. Dr. Kornelakis’s article entitled “Balancing Flexibility With Security in Organizations? Exploring the Links Between Flexicurity and Human Resource Development” appeared in the December issue of Human Resource Development Review.]

When it comes to public policy on lifelong learning and employability the HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpointdiscussions are –more often than not- disconnected from practices at the level of organizations. Vice versa, current trends in organizational practices ignore the potential synergies with external policies such as the welfare state and other labour market institutions. How do we conceptualize the links between the two realms and what is the role that organizations may play in balancing flexibility with security? Andreas Kornelakis discusses these issues in his article “Balancing Flexibility with Security in Organizations? Exploring the links between Flexicurity and Human Resource Development” published in the Human Resource Development Review.

The abstract:

Recent scholarship in the Human Resource Development (HRD) field considered how practice might respond to contemporary issues facing organizations, such as the emergence of the knowledge economy, and the need for lifelong learning and organizational flexibility. A similar set of challenges have pre-occupied European policymakers, with a notable debate on how to increase flexibility in Europe. The article reviews the theoretical debate on flexibility, and the related policy of “Flexicurity” that aspires to balance flexibility with employment security at the national level. The article argues that the challenges that both nations and organizations face should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Instead, it suggests that labor policy and workplace practice can be mutually enhancing and calls for a research agenda on “organizational Flexicurity.” The article suggests that HRD scholars are best placed to advance such an agenda, as career development and learning lies at the heart of those issues.

You can read “Balancing Flexibility With Security in Organizations? Exploring the Links Between Flexicurity and Human Resource Development” from Human Resource Development Review for free by clicking here! Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Human Resource Development Review and get all the latest news and research sent directly to your inbox!

280956Andreas Kornelakis is a lecturer in human resource management at the Department of Business and Management, University of Sussex. He received a PhD degree from the London School of Economics. He is a member of the British Sociological Association, the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, and the European Group for Organizational Studies. His research interests include labor markets, labor relations, and political economy in comparative perspective. His work has been published at the European Journal of Industrial Relations, Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, and Work Employment and Society.

Does Working From Home Work?

When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer this February banned her employees from working from home, an uproar ensued in the business community. Supporters of workplace flexibility – including telecommuting, flexible schedules, job sharing and more – suggest that it leads to increased job satisfaction and other benefits. But does it instead blur the line between business and personal lives, creating a “never-ending work week” that threatens work-life balance? A new study published in the Journal of Management Inquiry asks women business owners, who have the freedom to work when and where they choose, this very question:

JMI_72ppiRGB_150pixwWe saw that when the participants took time off during ordinary work hours to attend to nonwork-related responsibilities, they felt obligated to work more prior to the break or make up the time afterward. Flexibility is only an advantage if it sometimes enables a person to sacrifice work activities to nonwork obligations; otherwise, the imbalance always favors working more. When work becomes the fulcrum around which lives are organized, family, home, leisure, and all else are subordinated.

Click here to read “Living in a Culture of Overwork: An Ethnographic Study of Flexibility” by Kristina A. Bourne and Pamela J. Forman, both of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. The study is forthcoming in the Journal of Management Inquiry and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

Women and Work-Life Balance

Shortly after Marissa Mayer’s appointment this week as CEO of Yahoo, news of her pregnancy opened a new chapter in the work-life debate. Today, we offer context with perspectives on gender roles, women in leadership, and work-family balance. We hope you’ll find this selection interesting and useful.

Gary N. Powell of the University of Connecticut and Jeffrey H. Greenhaus of Drexel University published “Sex, Gender, and Decisions at the Family → Work Interface” in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Management:

We explore whether sex differences in work-domain decisions can be explained by family-domain factors and whether the effect of family-domain factors on work decisions is different for women and men. We believe that answers to these questions can provide important insights into the role of sex in the interplay between family and work lives.

Athena Perrakis and Cynthia Martinez, both of the University of San Diego, published “In Pursuit of Sustainable Leadership: How Female Chairs With Children Negotiate Personal and Professional Roles” in the May 2012 issue of Advances in Developing Human Resources.

The lived experiences of the women in this study indicate complex tensions between personal and professional roles. Childcare and home responsibilities were the primary factors that complicated or derailed efforts to achieve work–life balance.

Frank L. Giancola, HR researcher and writer, published “Can the Work–Life Movement Regain Its Balance?” in the September/October 2011 issue of Compensation & Benefits Review. See also our five-part series on work-life balance.

The work–life discipline of human resources (HR) management has been in a period of transformation for the past decade. This fact may have eluded many people in the business world, since the key reasons behind the transformation and the new direction are not widely known outside work–life circles.

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Making Space For Flexibility in the Workplace

Sara Värlander, Stockholm University School of Business, published Individual Flexibility in the Workplace: A Spatial Perspective on May 13, 2011 in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

During the past few decades, scholars have undertaken numerous studies to map various determinants of flexibility at various levels: organizational, group, and individual. However, limited attention has been paid to the role of context and spatiality in realizing individual flexibility. This article aims to fill this gap and seeks to inquire into links between flexibility and spatiality. More specifically, this article will explore how organizational spatial layouts affect individual flexibility as everyday work activities are undertaken in the production of services in two settings, namely, health care and financial services. The findings show that spatial layout is important to better understand and conceptualize individual and organizational flexibility. The findings also show how spatial layout affords various and unexpected outcomes and that layouts that unilaterally foster flexibility are difficult to achieve due to the polymorphous nature of flexibility.

To learn more about The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, please follow this link.

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Part 5 of 5: What are the Current and Future Implications for a “Work-Life Balance?”

Today we’re continuing our special series of posts on Work-Life Balance. We hope you find the series insightful and thought-provoking.

What are the current and future implications for a “Work-Life Balance?” See the articles below to see what management researchers have to say.

Frank L. Giancola, HR Researcher and Writer, published “Can the Work-Life Movement Regain Its Balance?” in the September/October 2011 issue of Compensation & Benefits Review.

The work–life discipline has been in a period of transformation in recent years for two reasons—no growth in the prevalence of major work–life programs and a decline in the number of work–life specialists. To reinvigorate the field, work–life leaders have changed its signature term, charter and organizational change strategies. The transformation’s success is doubtful because of disagreement over a central premise, a vast and disjointed charter that infringes on other human resources disciplines, and movement into the field by a stronger rival. It will survive, but in a smaller form, based primarily on the concept of workplace flexibility.

Karen J. Crooker, University of Wisconsin–Parkside, Faye L. Smith, Emporia State University, and Filiz Tabak, Towson University, published “Creating Work-Life Balance: A Model of Pluralism across Life Domains” in the December 2002 issue of Human Resource Development Review.

This article develops a theoretical framework that explains how life complexity and dynamism affect work-life balance. The authors explain the moderating effects of munificence and accessibility of resources in one’s life as well as the personality differences and individual value systems on the relationship between life complexity/dynamism and work-life balance. The analysis leads to implications for future research and practice.

Paula J. Caproni, University of Michigan, published “Work/Life Balance: You Can’t Get There From Here” in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

In this article, I contend that the well-intentioned discourse of work/life balance in the popular and scholarly press actually may undermine women’s and men’s attempts to live fulfilling lives. Drawing on feminist and critical perspectives, as well as my own efforts to find “balance” in a two-career family with two children under the age of 4, I illustrate (a) how the work/life discourse reflects the individualism, achievement orientation, and instrumental rationality that is fundamental to modern bureaucratic thought and action and (b) how such discourse may further entrench people in the work/life imbalance that they are trying to escape.

Michael Lane Morris and Susan R. Madsen published “Advancing Work-Life Integration in Individuals, Organizations, and Communities” in the November 2007 issue of Advances in Developing Human Resources.

The problem and the solution. Working adults report they experience greater challenges today in their ability to be productive employees, experience personal and interpersonal health and wellbeing, and make meaningful contributions as citizens to their respective communities. By better understanding work–life theory and research, human resource development professionals can contribute to the strategic development of policies, practices, programs, and interventions that appear to alleviate or ameliorate demands fostering greater work–life integration. Integration is a solution representing a holistic strategy including effective and efficient coordination of efforts and energies among all stakeholders sharing interest and benefits from workers being able to fulfill their personal,work, family, and community obligations.

Thank you for your continued interest in our themed week: “Work-life Balance!”

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