Line Managers' Rationales for Professionals' Reduced-Load Work in Embracing and Ambivalent Organizations

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Author: Kossek, E.E., Ollier-Malaterre, A., Lee, M. D., Pichler, S., Hall, D.T.
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Abstract: Human Resource Management

This study examines line managers' rationales regarding reduced-load work (RLW), an emerging talent management practice allowing professionals to reduce their workload and take a pay cut, while actively remaining on a career path. Unlike flextime and telework, RLW addresses professionals' core problems of rising work hours and workloads. Interviews with 42 managers in 20 North American employers suggested that managers were more likely to support RLW for employees whom they saw as (1) high-performers, (2) flexible in their use of RLW, and (3) doing conducive jobs. Interviews with 20 HR experts and 24 senior executives revealed four dimensions of organizational support, two cultural (senior management support and discourse on career penalties) and two structural (adaptation of HR systems and organizational diffusion). In embracing organizations there was a higher frequency of more supportive managers than there was in ambivalent organizations. Managers' rationales were connected to their organizational contexts, albeit loosely, suggesting managerial implementation agency. The same rationales were more likely to be used in supportive ways in embracing contexts and in less supportive ways in ambivalent contexts. This study suggests that managerial and organizational support for flexible talent management practices dovetail in nuanced and important ways.

Read full article: Human Resource Management, 1 January, 2016