Currently published as: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal
Online from: 1981
Subject Area: Accounting and Finance
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|Title:||Organisational approaches to flexible working: Perspectives of equality and diversity managers in the UK|
|Author(s):||Jean Gardiner, (Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK), Jennifer Tomlinson, (Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)|
|Citation:||Jean Gardiner, Jennifer Tomlinson, (2009) "Organisational approaches to flexible working: Perspectives of equality and diversity managers in the UK", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 28 Iss: 8, pp.671 - 686|
|Keywords:||Equal opportunities, Flexible working hours, Industrial relations|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/02610150911001706 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to, first, explore flexible working as an important but under-researched dimension of equality and diversity (E&D) and, second, contribute to employment relations debates by exploring organisational perspectives on flexible working and how these connect with business strategies and the regulatory context.
Design/methodology/approach – In depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 E&D managers in ten public and private sector organisations. Interviews explored the role of E&D managers in the construction of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) and drivers underpinning them.
Findings – Flexible working was most evident as a significant field of E&D practice where E&D was linked into business strategy and was well resourced. The key roles of E&D managers in relation to FWAs were policy innovation and monitoring. Four organisational rationales for FWAs were identified from the data. These were FWA constructed as: an individual employee benefit; a means of improving operational effectiveness; an integral part of organisational strategy; and as a means of addressing structural social inequalities.
Research limitations/implications – While the sample is small, the research is of value to both researchers and policy makers, offering insights on an under-researched area of E&D policy and practice.
Practical implications – This paper outlines different rationales for flexible working and shows how some organisation are able to develop flexible working policies that are more equitable and effective than other organisations.
Originality/value – The originality lies in the use of E&D managers as informants of organisational approaches to FWAs, which to date has been under-researched in terms of its connection with E&D policy and practice.
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