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An investigation into the experiences of managers who work flexibly

By Deirdre Anderson


This thesis explores the experiences of managers who work flexibly. Flexible working policies are prevalent in all organizations in the UK because of the legislation giving specific groups of parents and carers the right to request flexible working. Many organizations extend the policies to all employees, yet the take-up is not as high as expected, particularly among staff at managerial levels. This thesis explores how managers construe and experience flexible working arrangements while successfully fulfilling their roles as managers of people. The exploratory study consisted of interviews with eight managers with unique flexible working patterns. Analysis of the interview transcripts identified concepts of consistency and adaptability. Consistency refers to meeting fixed needs from the work and non-work domains, and adaptability refers to the adjustment of schedules to meet the changing demands from those domains. The concepts of consistency and adaptability were further explored in the main study which is based on interviews with 24 women and 10 men who held managerial positions and had a flexible working arrangement which reduced their face time in the workplace. The research offers three main contributions to the literature. At a theoretical level, I propose a model which demonstrates how individuals use consistency and adaptability to meet the fixed and changing demands from the work and non-work domains. This model extends understanding of the complexity of the segmentation/integration continuum of boundary theory, explaining how and why managers use flexible working arrangements as a means of managing boundaries and achieving desired goals in both domains. Four distinct clusters emerged among the managerial participants in terms of the type and direction of adaptability, indicating the range of strategies used by managers to ensure the success of their flexible working arrangements. A detailed description of managers’ flexible working experiences is provided, adding to what is known about the role of manager through the exploration of the enactment of that role when working flexibly

Topics: Consistency and adaptability, boundary, integration, segmentation
Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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