Powerful times: flexible discipline and schedule gifts at work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

This article uses two ethnographic retail case studies to investigate contemporary workplace control. The findings highlight how flexible scheduling has serious consequences for workers and causes insecurity. This provides managers with a powerful and unaccountable mechanism for securing control. The benefits for managers of using flexible scheduling to secure control are shown to be its ambiguity and flexibility. Moreover, flexible scheduling creates an environment where workers must continually strive to maintain managers’ favour. Little evidence is found to suggest that this control is aided by work games obscuring workplace relations. Flexible scheduling does, however, enable misrecognition of workplace relations due to the schedule gifts which it entails. Schedule gifts act to bind workers to managers’ interests through feelings of gratitude and moral obligation.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1077
Number of pages16
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Volume32
Issue number6
Early online date15 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • discipline, flexibility, job insecurity, labour process, scheduling, working time, workplace control