Applications are invited for a 3-year full-time PhD studentship focused on examining the use and implementation of flexible working arrangements designed to support employee work-life balance and specifically will investigate the factors influencing outcomes for employers and employees, in the context of contemporary changes to work and employment relationships.
Suitable applicants will have an interest in employment research and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management/Employment Relations, Organisational Behaviour, Management, or a related social science.
Flexible working has been a central discourse in relation to employment over the past decade and has come to the fore during the Covid-19 pandemic. Potential outcomes from flexible working have generated much interest from employers, policy makers and governments at national and regional level. Extant research has shown considerable benefits for both individuals (enhanced work-life balance, well-being, job satisfaction etc.) and organisations (enhanced performance, retention, diversity, employee commitment etc.) from allowing employees some degree of choice over their working arrangements, typically when they work, where they work and how much they work (for an overview of the evidence see for example Allen et al. 2015; De Menezes & Kelliher, 2011; Kelliher & De Menezes, 2019). As organisations recover from the pandemic, many plan to offer greater flexibility to a wider range of staff through hybrid working, as a means of readjusting working arrangements and returning to the workplace. Extant research, however, suggests that the extent and nature of both individual and organisational benefits is related to the way in which flexible working is implemented (Kelliher & De Menezes, 2019; Kroll et al, 2017).
Therefore, there is a need to examine the implementation factors which influence the outcomes to further develop understanding of how these relationships work and what facilitates and impedes positive outcomes for individuals and organisations.
This is of particular importance at a time when a number of potentially opposing developments in relation to the way in which employers utilise labour have emerged. A concern of this research therefore will be to examine the influence of a context where employers are increasingly utilising alternative approaches to flexibility, by using practices designed to increase efficiency in the utilisation of labour by matching supply and demand more closely and to allow for greater organisational agility (e.g zero-hours contracts, gig and platform work). Under these circumstances there is potential for different approaches to flexibility to be in conflict when used within the same organisation.
Whilst conducting the PhD research, the successful candidate will be expected to prepare papers for publication in high impact journals in collaboration with their supervisors. They will also be encouraged to attend and present their research at relevant national and international conferences.
In addition to working on their PhD research, the successful candidate with be expected to spend approximately one day per week supporting the work of the Changing World of Work group. This will include activities such as assisting with research and teaching activities and development of approaches to communicating the group’s activities to external audiences. These activities will vary over the period of the scholarship and will be planned in line with the demands of the doctoral research and the group’s needs.
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