An Orchestrated Negotiated Exchange: Trading Home-Based Telework for Intensified Work

Original Paper

Abstract

In this paper, we explore a popular flexible work arrangement (FWA), home-based telework, in the Indian IT industry. We show how IT managers used the dominant meanings of telework to portray telework as an employee benefit that outweighed the attendant cost—intensified work. While using their discretion to grant telework, the managers drew on this portrayal to orchestrate a negotiated exchange with their subordinates. Consequently, the employees consented to accomplish the intensified work at home in exchange of telework despite their opposition to the intensified work in the office. Thus, whereas the extant studies consider work intensification as an unanticipated outcome of using FWAs, we show how firms may use FWAs strategically to get office-based intensified work accomplished at home. While the dominant argument is that employees reciprocate the opportunity to telework with intensified work, we show a discursively orchestrated negotiation that favors management. A corrective policy measure is to frame telework as an employee right.

Keywords

Flexible work arrangements Home-based telework Work intensification India Employee right Negotiation Virtual work Work from home Telehomeworking Information Technology (IT) industry 

Abbreviations

FWAs

Flexible Work Arrangements

IT

Information Technology

OLH

Odd and/or Long Work Hours

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the editor and the two anonymous reviewers, and Martin Parker for comments that greatly improved the manuscript. We also thank Neharika Vohra and Pradyumana Khokle for advice during the course of this research work.

References

  1. Alvesson, M., & Karreman, D. (2007). Constructing mystery: Empirical matters in theory development. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1265–1281. doi:10.5465/AMR.2007.26586822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aneesh, A. (2006). Virtual migration: The programming of globalization. New Delhi: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, D. E., & Kurland, N. B. (2002). A review of telework research: Findings, new directions, and lessons for the study of modern work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(4), 383–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baruch, Y. (2000). Teleworking: Benefits and pitfalls as perceived by professionals and managers. New Technology, Work and Employment, 15(1), 34–49. doi:10.1111/1468-005X.00063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bathini, D. R., & Kandathil, G. (2015). Work from home: A boon or a bane? The missing piece of employee cost. The Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 50(4), 568–574.Google Scholar
  6. Belmi, P., & Pfeffer, J. (2015). How “organization” can weaken the norm of reciprocity: The effects of attributions for favors and a calculative mindset. Academy of Management Discoveries, 1(1), 36–57. doi:10.5465/amd.2014.0015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boxall, P., & Macky, K. (2014). High-involvement work processes, work intensification and employee well-being. Work, Employment and Society, 28(6), 963–984. doi:10.1177/0950017013512714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Broadfoot, K. J. (2001). When the cat’s away, do the mice play?: Control/autonomy in the virtual workplace. Management Communication Quarterly, 15(1), 110–114. doi:10.1177/0893318901151006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burchell, B., Ladipo, D., & Wilkinson, F. (2005). Job insecurity and work intensification. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Carmel, E. (2006). Building your information systems from the other side of the world: How Infosys manages time zone differences. MIS Quarterly Executive, 5(1), 43–53.Google Scholar
  11. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Cooper, R., & Baird, M. (2015). Bringing the “right to request” flexible working arrangements to life: From policies to practices. Employee Relations, 37(5), 568–581. doi:10.1108/ER-07-2014-0085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deetz, S. A., & Eger, E. K. (2014). Developing a metatheoretical perspective for organizational communication studies. In L. L. Putnam & D. K. Mumby (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational communication: Advances in theory, research, and methods (3rd ed., pp. 27–48). New York: SAGE. Accessed 5 Aug 2016.Google Scholar
  14. Dimitrova, D. (2003). Controlling teleworkers: Supervision and flexibility revisited. New Technology, Work and Employment, 18(3), 181–195. doi:10.1111/1468-005X.00120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellison, N. B. (2004). Telework and social change: How technology is reshaping the boundaries between home and work. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  16. Fairris, D., & Brenner, M. (2001). Workplace transformation and the rise in cumulative trauma disorders: Is there a connection? Journal of Labor Research, 22(1), 15–28. doi:10.1007/s12122-001-1001-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Felstead, A., & Jewson, N. (2000). In work, at home: Towards an understanding of homeworking. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  18. Fleetwood, S. (2007). Why work–life balance now? The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(3), 387–400. doi:10.1080/09585190601167441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Green, F. (2001). It’s been a hard day’s night: The concentration and intensification of work in late twentieth-century Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 39(1), 53–80. doi:10.1111/1467-8543.00189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kelliher, C., & Anderson, D. (2010). Doing more with less? Flexible working practices and the intensification of work. Human Relations, 63(1), 83–106. doi:10.1177/0018726709349199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lautsch, B. A., Kossek, E. E., & Eaton, S. C. (2009). Supervisory approaches and paradoxes in managing telecommuting implementation. Human Relations, 62(6), 795–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, S. (2003). The integration of paid work and the rest of life. Is post-industrial work the new leisure? Leisure Studies, 22(4), 343–345. doi:10.1080/02614360310001594131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lewis, S., Gambles, R., & Rapoport, R. (2007). The constraints of a “work–life balance” approach: An international perspective. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(3), 360–373. doi:10.1080/09585190601165577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Locke, K., Golden-Biddle, K., & Feldman, M. S. (2008). Perspective-making doubt generative: Rethinking the role of doubt in the research process. Organization Science, 19(6), 907–918. doi:10.1287/orsc.1080.0398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lowe, G. S., & Schellenberg, G. (2001). What’s a good job? The importance of employment relationships. CPRN study. changing employment relationships series. ERIC. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED468464. Accessed 25 Nov 2015.
  26. Mescher, S., Benschop, Y., & Doorewaard, H. (2010). Representations of work–life balance support. Human Relations, 63(1), 21–39. doi:10.1177/0018726709349197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mirchandani, K. (2000). “The best of both worlds” and “cutting my own throat”: Contradictory images of home-based work. Qualitative Sociology, 23(2), 159–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moe, K., & Shandy, D. (2010). Glass ceilings and 100-hour couples: What the opt-out phenomenon can teach us about work and family. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  29. Nadeem, S. (2009). The uses and abuses of time: Globalization and time arbitrage in India’s outsourcing industries. Global Networks, 9(1), 20–40. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0374.2009.00240.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NASSCOM. (2013). The IT-BPM sector in India: Strategic review 2013 (Industry report).Google Scholar
  31. Pathak, A. A., Bathini, D. R., & Kandathil, G. M. (2015). The ban on working from home makes sense for Yahoo. Human Resource Management International Digest, 23(3), 12–14. doi:10.1108/HRMID-03-2015-0052.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peirce, C. S. (1978). Pragmatism and abduction. In C. Hart-shorne & P. Weiss (Eds.), Collected papers (Vol. V, pp. 180–212). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Peters, P., den Dulk, L., & van der Lippe, T. (2009). The effects of time-spatial flexibility and new working conditions on employees’ work–life balance: The Dutch case. Community, Work and Family, 12(3), 279–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Putnam, L. L., Fairhurst, G. T., & Banghart, S. (2016). Contradictions, dialectics, and paradoxes in organizations: A constitutive approach. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 65–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Putnam, L. L., Myers, K. K., & Gailliard, B. M. (2014). Examining the tensions in workplace flexibility and exploring options for new directions. Human Relations, 67(4), 413–440. doi:10.1177/0018726713495704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Richman, A., Civian, J., Shannon, L., Hill, E. J., & Brennan, R. (2008). The relationship of perceived flexibility, supportive work-life policies, and use of formal flexible arrangements and occasional flexibility to employee engagement and expected retention. Community, Work and Family, 11(2), 183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sullivan, C. (2003). What’s in a name? Definitions and conceptualisations of teleworking and homeworking. New Technology, Work and Employment, 18(3), 158–165. doi:10.1111/1468-005X.00118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Taskin, L., & Devos, V. (2005). Paradoxes from the individualization of human resource management: The case of telework. Journal of Business Ethics, 62(1), 13–24. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-8710-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Taskin, L., & Edwards, P. (2007). The possibilities and limits of telework in a bureaucratic environment: Lessons from the public sector. New Technology, Work and Employment, 22(3), 195–207. doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2007.00194.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tietze, S., & Musson, G. (2002). When “work” meets “home” temporal flexibility as lived experience. Time and Society, 11(2–3), 315–334. doi:10.1177/0961463X02011002008.Google Scholar
  41. Upadhya, C. (2009). Controlling offshore knowledge workers: Power and agency in India’s software outsourcing industry. New Technology, Work and Employment, 24(1), 2–18. doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2008.00215.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Upadhya, C., & Vasavi, A. R. (2008). In an outpost of the global economy: Work and workers in India’s information technology industry. New Delhi: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Van Buren, H. J., III, Greenwood, M., & Sheehan, C. (2011). Strategic human resource management and the decline of employee focus. Human Resource Management Review, 21(3), 209–219. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2011.02.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Van Echtelt, P., Glebbeek, A., Lewis, S., & Lindenberg, S. (2009). Post-Fordist work: A man’s world? Gender and working overtime in the Netherlands. Gender and Society, 23(2), 188–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Weick, K. E. (1989). Theory construction as disciplined imagination. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 516–531. doi:10.5465/AMR.1989.4308376.Google Scholar
  46. Wilks, L., & Billsberry, J. (2007). Should we do away with teleworking? An examination of whether teleworking can be defined in the new world of work. New Technology, Work and Employment, 22(2), 168–177. doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2007.00191.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management CalcuttaKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Management AhmedabadAhmedabadIndia

Personalised recommendations