Research Method Assignment

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Research Method Assignment


Various studies of organisational flexibility have looked at the links between numerical and functional flexibility. They have tried to explain how organisations are able to obtain these concurrently. This paper is concerned with examining the impact of flexible working practices on employee perceptions of job quality. In this paper it is proposed to discuss the merits and shortcomings of the core periphery model and to test this model in the Irish hospitality industry. The author analysed 177 completed responses from employers and 246 completed responses from employees. The results presented here would reflect Kelliher's thesis that the core-periphery model is not an accurate representation of how firms organise their manpower. Furthermore, the findings here would not support the theory that it is necessary to have a group of temporary workers with low paid, insecure jobs and low commitment in order to protect a core group of employees who are highly committed and who enjoy functionally flexible stable employment. As reflected already, we see that part-time employees have many benefits, some have training and they are involved in teamworking and multiskilling. No relationship was found between numerical and functional flexibility.


According to Kelliher (2001), this link is achieved using the core- periphery model. The core is associated with more regular workers having good employment conditions. The periphery consists of those having a more casual employment relationship.

More specifically, according to Kelliher (2001, p.2) the literature presents two different perspectives on the labour market: (a) "improving workers ability to carry out a variety of jobs and to take part in decision making, and (b) cutting costs by constraining workers' involvement in the establishment".

These two strategies have been called by a variety of names e.g. functional versus numerical flexibility (Anderson, 1984a). In this paper I propose to discuss the merits and shortcomings of the core periphery model and to test this model in the hospitality industry.

Anderson's Flexible Firm

The core-periphery arguments trace their academic roots to the idea of safeguarding the resources and competences of an establishment. This is perceived to be central to its competitiveness. There is a call for adequate flexibility strategies for both employers and employees.

Anderson proposed a model of the flexible firm. In the flexible firm model flexibility is defined as functional, numerical and financial flexibility (Anderson, 1984b).

Functional flexibility is concerned with the ability of employees to handle different tasks and move between jobs, i.e. multiskilling. This approach enables employers to match changing workloads, production methods and/or technology. Numerical flexibility refers to the power to adjust the number of workers or the number of hours worked, in response to changes in demand. Financial flexibility refers to a firm's capability to change employment costs in response to supply and demand in the external labour market. This facilitates the objectives of functional and numerical flexibility.

In addition, Anderson proposes an ideal model of the fully flexible firm. Such a firm would employ a numerically fixed core group of employees. The core would consist of full-time employees who carry out the ...
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