The Idea of Flexibility
Flexibility has been an ongoing issue for various fields of research and practice and a considerable amount of literature dealing with the concept of flexibility has developed. This diversity has led to various perspectives on dimensions and aspects of flexibility. However, two major fields of flexibility can be distinguished. The organizational perspective understands workplace flexibility as the degree of adaptability of an organization in an uncertain and changing environment (Dastmalchian & Blyton 2001). In addition, workplace flexibility can encompass the individual perspective of the workforce, especially the degree of flexibility regarding aspects of where, when, and how work is performed (Hill et al. 2008). Within both streams of research, various aspects of flexibility have been addressed, such as organizational structures (Feldman & Pentland 2003), type of employment (Lepak et al. 2003; Sayah & Süß 2013), management and strategic human resource management (Wright & Snell 1998), time and location of work (Allen et al. 2013), demands towards employees (Vahle-Hinz et al. 2013) and work (Ruiner et al. 2013), leadership (Barrow 1976), and the role of Communication Technologies (Diaz et al. 2012).
Regarding the consequences of flexibility, literature often assumes positive results for both iindividualand organization, when flexibility increases. For example, evidence has been found that flexibility at work is positively related to self-reported health (Butler et al. 2009). Furthermore, it can increase organizational attractiveness (Nadler et al. 2010; Thompson et al. 2015), profit (Kesavan et al. 2014) and firm performance (Martínez Sánchez et al. 2007). However, there is also a missing consensus and ongoing discussion regarding possible consequences of flexibility. Research has identified potential downsides of flexibility, such as blurred work-life boundaries (Pedersen and Lewis 2012), the risk of stigmatization (Cech & Blair-Loy 2014), unsupportive work climate and inequitable implementation (Putnam et al. 2014). Other relationships, for example between flexibility and work-family conflict (Allen et al. 2013; Shockley & Allen 2007), remain unclear. Further, if the flexibility is only an organizational facade (Eaton 2003; Nystrom & Starbuck 1984) which is communicated but not lived in the organization, even more, negative consequences such as violations of psychological contracts might occur, especially when flexibility is used as a facade to justify the transformation of standard work arrangements to non-standard work arrangements.
The aim of this special issue is to increase our understanding of the below-mentioned aspects of workplace flexibility, especially from an organizational perspective. We encourage empirical – qualitative or quantitative – submissions from various research fields, such as business administration, industrial and organizational psychology, work sociology and other disciplines dealing with the topic of the Special Issue.
- What is the core of flexibility in organizations?
- Which origins can be identified of the ongoing need for various types of flexibility?
- What types of flexibility can be systematized and how are those different types related to organizational consequences, such as success or attractiveness?
- How useful are flexible work arrangements and how can positive consequences be promoted and negative consequences be avoided, or at least weakened?
- Which consequences result from a gap between offered and truly supported types of flexibility, e.g. the role of organizational facades?
- How does embeddedness of Information and Communications Technologies in work practices enable and assist workplace flexibility?
- What are the consequences of the ongoing flexibilization of work on the economic and social level?
Full papers for this special issue of management revue must be submitted by 31 December 2017. All contributions will be subject to double-blind review. Papers invited to a ‘revise and resubmit’ are due 31 May 2018. Please submit your papers electronically via the online submission system at the link provided below using ‘SI Workplace Flexibility’ as article section.
Manuscript length should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding references) and the norm should be 30 pages in double-spaced type with margins of about 3 cm (1 inch) on each side of the page. Further, please follow the guidelines on the website http://www.mrev.nomos.de/guidelines/ and submit the papers electronically by sending a ‘blind’ copy of your manuscript (delete all author identification from this primary document).
For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.
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