Publishing Pressures & the Job Demands-Resources Model… Demands Overload/Resources Shortfall in Academia

Some musings while I am working on a paper involving the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model... Discussions in academic institutions, at least among peers at the lower-to-mid hierarchical levels, centre on the increasing academic workloads - growing class sizes, burgeoning administrative duties - facing academics. Meanwhile, pressure (self-imposed and/or institutionally required) to consistently publish quality research in good quality journals is mounting higher and higher. Indeed, when it comes to promotion panels, generally more kudos is given to your publication record than to any other task performed. What is generally meant by 'good quality journals' are those that are ranked 3 or 4 star in the ABS peer journal ranking (for Business academics at least). For the non-academic readers, Continue reading here [...]

A comment on the junior doctors’ strike….

It is shocking to think that, in 2013, highly educated and trained individuals are pushed to working excessive, slave-labour hours. Enough is enough and the junior doctors have had no choice but to take a stand and fight for better conditions. Not only are the excessive hours a threat to patient care, they also impact on the individuals themselves, who are more at risk of burnout from excessive work pressures arising from habitually working overtime. Besides physical health risks, the psychological risks and business risks are also increased, with implications on morale, productivity, performance and talent retention. Who wants to work somewhere they feel unappreciated, overworked and ignored? The psychological contract has been severely, if not irreparably damaged here and it is going Continue reading here [...]

A balanced view: when working from home doesn’t work

Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer has come under attack in recent months after she made changes to Yahoo employees' work-from-home arrangements. Women and parental rights advocates hotly contested the imposition to have to come into the office to work. Teleworking (working from home) policies and practices have been taken up by many organisations in the public and private sector, and for many employees it has has led to a better work/life balance. Why waste time on a long commute to work if you can get the job done from home and connect with work via computer, internet and mobile devices? However, on the other hand, Marissa Mayer may be on to something. In practice working from home often means no fixed end time to the working day, with home and work chores overlapping and blurring throughout the Continue reading here [...]

Workplace Culture and Employee Engagement

How you feel in your work environment matters! To you and to your organisation! There are positive correlations between a positive work culture and good business results, and a 2012 Deloitte report supports this - http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/About/Leadership/1fe8be4ad25e7310VgnVCM1000001956f00aRCRD.htm. It makes sense: if you have a positive work culture, employees feel more comfortable, more creative, more valued. This results in a lower employee turnover rate which cuts the costs associated with recruitment, selection and onboarding. All this ultimately leads to organisations reporting stronger business results... However, there are discrepancies between the perception of company culture from senior management and those lower down the hierarchy, with more senior organisational Continue reading here [...]

Flexibility: Friend or Foe? A reflection on work intensification in an era promoting flexiblity

I remember a conversation I had with a colleague when I worked in France some years back. I was surprised that he had refused to take up the company's offer of paying for his broadband, while the rest of us jumped at the offer. He argued that if he accepted the offer, the organisation could then expect him to be always 'on', to be available for webinars, calls and emails 24x7. At the time, I considered his line of argumentation to be an exaggeration, an untrusting over-analysis of what was a very generous offer from the company to pay for home broadband. Looking back, I'm not so quick to laugh off what he had suggested... Let me stress that never did the company demand 24x7 response to electronic communication. However, given the nature of the work which meant keeping on top of developments, Continue reading here [...]

A Place for Flexibility and Trust in Recessionary Times?

  Against the backdrop of the economic downturn and the apparent increasing financial requirement for some organisations to track performance and increase productivity, advances made to instilling an organisational cuture of flexibility and trust may be slowing in some work situations. Margaret Heffernan however http://www.inc.com/margaret-heffernan/why-flexible-hours-inspire-achievement.html argues against tracking employees' hours. She believes that introducing tracking systems only wastes effective time where the employees are actually being productive and working rather than filling in timesheets and forms. Heffernan's argumentation is in keeping with studies from the Great Place to Work organisation http://www.greatplacetowork.ie/ which advocate a culture of trust in organisations. Continue reading here [...]

Women at Work: ‘Having it all’ versus ‘balls in the air’

While the proportion of women in the workplace has increased, there continues to be a wide discrepancy between those women in staff and management postions. McKinsey's MD Domic Barton's presentation stresses the importance of women being employed throughout the pipeline in organisations Lack of support is often bandied about as the main reason for the fall off in the number of women in management positions. While organisations are encouraged to provide support through family-friendly and anti-discrimination policies and practices, line management support is equally important in understanding the needs of staff to work flexible hours for instance.  Beyond organisation-based support, encouragement and support must be forthcoming from a spouse/partner, who is willing to share in the childcare Continue reading here [...]

Work Family Researchers Network

I attended the inaugural WFRN (Work Family Researchers Network) conference https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/ in New York last week (14-16 June 2012). The work/family space is a vast area crossing many disciplines (HRM, Sociology, Geography, Psychology, Mediation...) and this conference was a great forum for those interested in the area to interact and share research. There were over 750 attendees from all over the world, which is testimony to the growing interest in this area. It emphasises the need for deeper investigation into how individuals, organisations and society can better reconcile and support individuals in their attempts to positively balance work and non-work. I gave two presentations at the event. The first considered gender & identity challenges and experiences of Continue reading here [...]

Women in the Workplace

While figures suggest more female participation in the workplace, the proportion of women on boards and in senior positions remains notably lower than their male counterparts. Preference theory suggests women have three 'preferences': career, mother (childcare), and a 'balance' between career focus and motherhood (childcare). This theory fails to address the voluntary (and involuntary) context of the 'preferences' and emphasises the requirement to differentiate between preferences and choices. For instance, some women would 'prefer' to stay at home with their children, but due to financial constraints, may choose to 'balance' or even focus on 'career'.  Similarly for women that may like to maintain or return to a paid working career after having children, they may not find employment or Continue reading here [...]