This research by Associate Professor Keith Townsend (Griffith University) and Professor Paula McDonald and Associate Professor Abby Cathcart the Work/Industry Futures group at QUT examined the influence of organisational size. Financial constraints and workforce characteristics on the management of flexible work arrangements.
Associate Professor Abby Cathcart and Professor Paula McDonald
School of Management, QUT Business School
Paula McDonald is Professor of Work and Organisation in the QUT Business School. Her research focuses on five thematic areas relevant to social justice at work: customised and flexible work; the systemic causes of and solutions to workplace discrimination and harassment; education to employment pathways for young people; and the impact of social media on public/private boundaries. Paula has been awarded 6 major competitive research grants from the Australian Research Council and has collaborated on research projects with public, private and non-profit organisations including The Australian Human Rights Commission, Suncorp, the Australian Defence Force, Education Queensland, The Brisbane City Council and the Qld Dept of Public Works. She has published three books and over 60 academic journal articles and is frequently asked to provide media commentary and to present her work to industry groups. Prior to an academic career, Paula held clinical and research roles in child and adolescent psychiatry, medical education, primary care and public health. She is a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Dr Abby Cathcart is an Associate Professor of Management in the QUT Business School and a member of the Work Industry Futures Research Program. Prior to becoming an academic at QUT, Abby worked in management roles in the UK. Her research encompasses employee involvement, engagement and voice, incorporating flexible work, professional recognition and evaluation frameworks. Abby is Head of QUT’s Academy of Learning and Teaching and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is a highly skilled educator and has won three Australian Awards for University Teaching for her leadership in the Higher Education.
Managing flexible work arrangements in small not-for-profit firms: The influence of organisational size, financial constraints and workforce characteristics
2016, Keith Townsend, Paula McDonald and Abby Cathcart, The International Journal of Human Resource Management
Small, not-for-profit organisations fulfil a need in the economy that is typically not satisfied by for-profit firms. They also operate in ways that are distinct from larger organisations. While such firms employ a substantial proportion of the workforce, research addressing human resource management (HRM) practices in these settings is limited. This article used data collected from five small not-for-profit firms in Australia to examine the way one significant HRM practice – the provision and utilisation of flexible work arrangements – operates in the sector. Drawing on research from several scholarly fields, the article firstly develops a framework comprising three tensions in not-for-profits that have implications for HRM. These tensions are: (1) contradictions between an informal approach to HRM vs. a formal regulatory system; (2) employee values that favour social justice vs. external market forces; and (3) a commitment to service vs. external financial expectations. The article then empirically examines how these tensions are managed in relation to the specific case of flexible work arrangements. The study reveals that tensions around providing and accessing flexible work arrangements are managed in three ways: discretion, leadership style and distancing. These findings more broadly inform the way HRM is operationalised in this under-examined sector.
Download the article from QUT EPrints http://eprints.qut.edu.au/92600/