Does Policy Matter? Organizational Context and Flexible Work Arrangement Negotiations


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The nine to five and forty hours a week "ideal worker" model of past generations is under persistent attack from workers who are seeking and often demanding new work arrangements that support, balance, and enrich the quality of their experiences within their careers, families, and personal lives. This empirical research employs a social relational perspective and, particularly, a negotiation lens to explore why and how women elect to adopt these flexible work arrangements; to determine what occurs in the micro-interactions between an employee and her employer; and, to explore the implementation issues and experiences women face as they navigate the ongoing conflict situations inherent in working a flexible schedule. Analysis of original survey research with over 400 women illuminates the relationship between organizational climate and individual negotiation behavior and provides insight into why there is often a disconnect between organizational level policy support and individual level adoption of flexible work arrangements. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data suggests that the organizational climate influences the entire bargaining experience, as does women's age and career stage. It further proposes that the informal climate and general work life practices of specific managers—as representative of the general organization—have a greater influence than formal policy.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations

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