Flexible Work Arrangements in Greece: Theoretical Perspectives and Evidence from Employers and Employees

Bessa, Ioulia (2012). Flexible Work Arrangements in Greece: Theoretical Perspectives and Evidence from Employers and Employees. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)

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Abstract

The thesis examines Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) in the Greek labour market and theoretical perspectives that may explain employers’ and employees’ perceptions of flexible working in Greece. Its objectives are: (1) to contribute to the sociology of work and labour economics literatures, by revisiting theoretical perspectives, applying them to the Greek labour context and adding empirical evidence on different FWAs; (2) to contribute to the literature on flexible working and new forms of management practices, by not only focusing on a context that has been neglected, but also by developing a two-level study of both employers’ and employees’ perspectives; (3) to assess potential implications of flexible working by focusing on the job quality of flexible workers and, in doing so, contribute to the growing literature on the impacts of new forms of work.

In Chapter 3, the datasets are presented. First, the fourth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) and the second European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) are described and employed to benchmark employee use of FWAs in Greece. Second, a survey conducted in Greece during the period 2010-2011 is described. The resulting Greek Dataset on Flexible Work (GDFW) covers 40 companies and 492 employees.

The second part of the thesis reports three empirical studies. In Chapter 4, EWCS and EQLS show that the use of FWAs in Greece is significantly lower (compared to other EU countries) highlighting the question: why is the incidence of flexible working lower in Greece? Four FWAs forms are studied: part-time, temporary, telework and work from home as well as a hybrid category, “no contract”. The findings suggest that part-time, temporary and “no contract” employees characterise a secondary labour market, while telework and work from home, though rare are more noticeable than previously observed in the literature and demonstrate characteristics of a primary labour market. Overall, this first empirical study enabled a reassessment of the research questions, data needed and provided further insights into how chosen theoretical perspectives could be further explored to set hypotheses concerning employers’ as well as employees’ perspectives.

The first study (Chapter 5) analyses the GDFW through institutional theory. Its purpose is twofold: first, to examine at an organisational level the environmental factors that may impact on employer offer of FWAs. Second, to explore characteristics, that are directly associated with employee use of / interest in FWAs. Additionally, the relationship between FWAs with Work-Life Balance (WLB) and life satisfaction is examined. Results show that pressures coming from competition, EU, legislation and labour market are significant predictors of employer offer. With regard to employees, the results suggest that the use of FWAs and employee interest in FWAs are associated with: their role in the organisation, tenure and family obligations. Implications of these findings for human resource management, industrial relations and the spread of flexible working in Greece as well as future research are discussed.

The second study investigates FWAs quality in Greece through dual labour market theory (Chapter 6). Hypotheses are set and tested using the GDFW. Perceptions of employees and employers on FWAs show that these are associated with low job quality. Flexible workers are mostly females, younger employees and those with lower educational background, suggesting a segmented workforce and a distinction between full-time employees (“insiders”) and flexible workers (“outsiders”). These inequalities are likely to remain, thus showing that convergence in the labour market is a distant European goal.

Chapter 7 summarises the research objectives of the thesis. It summarises the results obtained for the Greek case, and compares them to the European context. It further describes how findings may be generalised. Most importantly, it provides the practical implications of the thesis, acknowledges its limitations and addresses how what has been learnt by this research can foster future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: Cass Business School > Faculty of Management
City University London PhD theses
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/2948

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