Discuss and critically evaluate if flexible working arrangements are a motivational approach to employee relations. Introduction: In the past decade, especially in northern countries of European Union, some major changes have occurred regarding labour matters. One of the most popular challenges has been the implementation of working arrangements which provide flexibility in a number of areas such as working time, place of work, task or job content, rewards (Papalexandris, and Kramar 1997). Flexible work arrangements are de? ed as “employer provided bene? ts that permit employees some level of control over when and where they work outside of the standard workday” (Lambert, Marler, & Gueutal, 2008, p. 107). Flexibility in working time includes a variety of arrangements for part-time work, job sharing, flexi-time, fixed-term contracts, subcontracting and career/employment break schemes. As a result, more women are joining the workforce and dual career couples are becoming increasingly common (Moorhead, Steele, Alexander, Stephen & Duffin 1997).
These working arrangements are also often referred to as family-friendly, work–family, or more recently work–life policies. This implies an employee focus, but the extent to which these policies primarily bene? t employees or employers, especially in the 24/7 economy (Presser, 1998), Work according to Terkel (1977), is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor, in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday to Friday sort of dying. It is “this sort of dying” that organisations must seek to avoid.In their quest for a flexible, motivated, committed and willing workforce, success factors must be placed upon good people management practices and positive psychological contracts which may then result in the desired productivity, profitability and agility (Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD), The trend to flexible working arrangements has economic and social benefits.
Not only does it improve productivity and competitiveness, but it is increasingly recognized as a way to reduce unemployment and as an important tool for reconciling work and family life (DeRoure, 1996).Benefits Of Flexibility Work-life balance: In our case study, Lee Summersgill experienced benefits of flexible working arrangements in KPMG, the professional services firm. His employer minimized the working schedule for the week to reduce the job cuts during recession. Summersgill was initially worried for the reduced hours because he was concerned about his family and the news coincided with the birth of his daughter. But after sometime he experienced a very positive change in his working practices and he was motivated with the change and started to enjoy both his personal and professional life.Interest in researching flexible working arrangements has been growing, as such practices have been heralded as the way to reconcile or balance increased pressures of work and family life (Dex and Scheibl, 2001). Supporting this is the conviction that the culture of working long hours, which characterises many organisations and occupations, creates work and family conflict and stress (Lewis and Cooper, 1988) Motivational Approach: In 2008 survey of Haygroup, a consultancy, concluded: ‘while employees fear losing their job, organisations fear the loss of top talent and critical skills.Maslow’s believe that human beings aspire to become self-actualizing and viewed human potential as a vastly underestimated and unexplained territory.
One of the advise was for managers to find ways of motivating employees by devising program or practices aimed at satisfying emerging or unmet needs. (Kreitener 1998) Working conditions, such as flexible hours of work and employment schedules, job autonomy and supervisory relationships affect family and employee satisfaction (Vanden Heuval, 1993).Job satisfaction, stress and poor health have been found to be outcomes of heavy job demands and little decision-making power (Karasek, 1979; Karasek et al. , 1981). Similarly, when a supervisor is not supportive of an employee’s childcare needs, considerable stress at work and home is created (Fernandez, 1986).
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