A temporal perspective on flexible careers : reconciling multiple perspectives, levels of analysis, and time scales
MetadataShow full item record
Organizational scholars have given considerable attention to changing patterns of work and careers. A globalized economy and technological advances have created fast-paced work environments that are no longer supported by traditional organizational structures. The nature of the employee-employer relationship has also changed in many organizations with employees relying less on employers for stability and permanence, and employers shifting the responsibility for career planning and professional development to the employee. Individuals are also free to behave as active agents in creating innovative work-based practices that allow them to fulfill personal demands and commitments. These issues have opened the door for flexible work designs and arrangements. This dissertation explores the need and desire for flexibility among the qualified workforce, the negotiation strategies organizational members use to enact flexibility, and their attempts to extend work based flexibility across the lifespan. A five-month qualitative study is presented that considers the temporal nature of these changes, the varying time scales implicated in a range of flexible work practices and norms, and the various levels at which temporal flexibility is shaped. Findings support a perception of organizational flexibility as a temporal resource, and changing perceptions for employees working both within and outside of formal organizational policies. Results also demonstrate shifts in career behaviors as individuals actively engage in enacting flexibility across the lifespan. The temporal approach taken in this study contributes to our understanding of organizational flexibility by clarifying and disentangling theoretical concepts to more accurately explain the experiences of individuals in the contemporary organizational environment.