Challenges and Opportunities
Edited by Debra A. Major and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 14: Workplace flexibility: a key to work–life integration
Workplace flexibility is accepted in many work venues and research endeavors as a key facilitator of work–life integration (Hill et al., 2008). Scholars in many disciplines use it as a robust variable in models and analyses connected with a host of individual, family, work and community outcomes (Jacob et al., 2008). Galinsky et al. (2004) found that when organizations facilitate flexibility, workers can better meet their needs on and off the job, thus enhancing work–life integration. Depending on the research, flexibility may also act as an independent, mediating, moderating, or dependent variable in numerous theory based relationships (e.g., Allen and Shockley, 2009; Barnett et al., 1999; Stavrou, 2005). All of this research is incorporated as part of a rationale to support corporate, non-profit and governmental workplace flexibility initiatives. For example, a global company has advocated workplace flexibility as indispensable to its strategy of attracting, motivating and retaining talent (Hill et al., 2003); a well-known foundation has promoted workplace flexibility by funding projects to encourage its implementation (When Work Works, 2012); a respected government entity has placed flexibility to the forefront of funding projects through the Work, Family and Health Network (National Institutes of Health, 2007); and testimony in the United States Senate asserted that, ‘workplace flexibility will become one of the hallmarks of good management practice, in part because it can produce positive outcomes for employees as well as for workplaces’ (Center on Aging and Work, 2007, p. 6).
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