labour flexibility

labour flexibility

the ability of a firm to modify the employment and utilization of its labour force in the face of changing labour and product market conditions.

Several forms of labour flexibility can be identified:

  1. numerical flexibility, where the level and type of employment can be varied. For instance, PART-TIME WORK and TEMPORARY WORK can enable the employer to adjust the size of the labour force;
  2. functional flexibility, where the utilization of employees can be varied. Here the employer seeks to remove DEMARCATION LINES and RESTRICTIVE LABOUR PRACTICES so that, in theory at least, workers can perform a greater range of tasks. Further TRAINING may be necessary to achieve this;
  3. temporal flexibility, where the hours of work can be varied so as to match them to production or operations requirements.

    Use of part-time work, COMPRESSED HOURS and ANNUAL HOURS systems may assist this;

  4. financial flexibility, where levels of payment to employees can be varied in line with changes in profitability or individual performance. See PROFIT-RELATED PAY, MERIT PAY.

Firms require some degree of flexibility because of the inherent uncertainty of markets. However, it has arguably become more necessary in recent years because of intensifying competition in product markets. A firm which achieves flexibility in most or all of the dimensions above may be described as a ‘flexible firm’. Such a firm would be composed of a core workforce of functionally flexible, well-paid employees and a peripheral workforce of numerically flexible PART-TIME WORKERS and temporal workers. Labour flexibility is usually viewed as a benefit to management; however, it can also benefit employees when it enables them to fit in paid employment with other (for example, domestic) commitments. See FLEXIBLE SPECIALIZATION, FLEXITIME, TEMPORARY WORK.

References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore, firms with six or less employees have the most labour flexibility.
Like Moody's, SandP welcomed measures to improve the business climate, labour flexibility and the energy sector.
It also gives employers the labour flexibility they need, and removes the cost pressures of hiring someone on a fixed-hours contract, as they cannot be sure that there will be work available during a certain period of time.
SEZ as a vehicle for exports should be restored, and benefits such as MAT exemption, labour flexibility and others must be instituted.
Whereas most explanations of industrial conflict in the industry have focused on the distinctive character of workers and unions, O'Leary and Sheldon examine employer strategies, ownership patterns and relations between large and smaller employers, depicting successive waves of employer strategic choice which end, as in the processes outlined by Fairbrother et al, in a period of labour flexibility, cost minimisation and individualised employment relationships, and efforts to marginalise unions and tighten workforce discipline.
Different authors (Gudmundsson 2004; Chen 2008) argue that a company's organisational structure and labour flexibility contribute to the creation of a good brand image and to service quality by the airline.
In 2010, Fiat released a five-year, 16 billion euros ($21 billion) investment plan for Italy demanding in return greater labour flexibility.
Keywords: Cross-functional training, hotel, labour flexibility, line supervisors, Taiwan
The paradigm entails a set of core policies that stress the importance of free trade and capital markets, financial liberalization, reduced role of the state to administer social programmes and to tax corporate wealth, along with privatization, deregulation, competitiveness, labour flexibility, and protection of corporate property rights.
Turkey is planning to improve its record in education, infrastructure, research and development, the informal economy and labour flexibility so as to make higher growth sustainable over the longer term," Simsek added.
More importantly, a simultaneous combination of the two forms of labour flexibility is believed to provide greater competitiveness of labour utilisation strategies for luxury hotels (Kelliher & Riley 2002).
The most important of these is the relation between the features of globalization and industrial conflict, primarily the issue of labour flexibility.