Relatively little research in the work-family flexibility literature has focused on socioeconomic middle class or unionized workers. It is important to understand flexibility implementation in unionized workforces for several reasons.
Peter Berg, Gerhard Bosch, and Jean Charest received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to bring together a community of scholar researching working time issues. We are currently coordinating a special issue of ILR Review on international comparisons of working time. We hosted a conference in Montreal in April 2012 to discuss the nine papers for the issue. The project is now progressing through the editorial stage, and we expect the special issue to be out in 2013. A key theme of emphasis will be the impact of various working time arrangements on a variety of outcomes.
In 2011, Peter Berg, Mary Hamman and Christopher Ruhm received a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to study gradual retirement and the effects of employment conditions on one's decision to extend working life beyond normal retirement age. This project uses a German matched employer-employee dataset (LIAB) to examine a variety of questions on retirement flexibiltiy.
This stream of research and practical tools first grew out of a national telework research project on whether using telework led to higher or lower work family conflict and productivity in a sample of professional employees and managers across the U.S. Ellen Kossek, Brenda Lautsch and Susan Eaton interviewed formal telework policy users and non teleworkers and their managers. We found that many people viewed as “nonteleworkers” were actually working in the evenings and weekends as overwork hours, sometimes as much as some nonteleworkers. We published several articles on boundary management and managing telework that can be found in the publications section of this website.
This project was conducted with Mary Dean Lee of McGill University. In recent years more employers have established policies and programs to support employees who want to work in different ways to accommodate shifting priorities in their personal and professional lives over the life span.
Dr. Kossek is a founding member of The Work, Family & Health Network., which is providing scientific evidence about how changes in the work environment can improve the health of workers and their families while benefiting organizations.
Ellen Kossek and Peter Berg This project is a featured research project on the website. The study was designed to increase understanding of the role union representatives and managers play in how workers use and experience flexibility policies and practices, and the links these policies and practices have to organizational performance and worker well-being.