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Transient and Flexible Work Lives Liminal Organizations and the Reflexive Habitus
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE). Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology. Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
2014 (English)In: Management and Organization of Temporary Agency Work / [ed] Bas Koene, Nathalie Galais, Christina Garsten, Routledge, 2014, Vol. 27, p. 23-37Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Current accounts of changing forms of work and organization highlight that organizations increasingly integrate market mechanisms and that workers are increasingly required to pursue the ideal of an enterprising self (Storey, Salaman, and Platman 2005). Although the emergence and change of forms of work and organizations as well as individuals’ behavioural, perceptual, and cognitive patterns are obviously intertwined, theoretical explanations of this co-evolutionary process are scarce. This chapter aims at making a contribution to fi ll this gap by using the concept of refl exive habitus (Sweetman 2003) as a way to shed light on how refl exivity itself has become habitual in fl exible forms of work and how, with refl exive habitus, processes of selfrefashioning are “second nature” rather than diffi cult to achieve. The focus is to provide an understanding of what living in transient and fl exible worlds of work-of which temporary agency work is a prevailing example-means to workers and how we can make sense of it. Such understanding is, in our view, essential for a critical conceptualization of the role that human resources management (HRM) and employment policies play in shaping individuals’ (work) lives. Whereas HRM can undoubtedly have a positive effect on temporary agency workers’ productivity and well-being, its broader consequences for workers’ identities and life courses should be kept in mind, too. What are the implications of temporary assignments and fl exible working conditions for individuals? How do people deal with situations of uncertainty and expectations on creativity? What roles do the agency and the client organizations have in facilitating for the individual employee in managing fl exible and changing employment conditions? Previous studies of temporary employment have shown, for example, that individuals develop attitudes and skills to deal with the temporal and spatial discontinuity of temporary agency work, involving a moulding of subjectivity (Garsten 2008); that fl exible forms of work are conducive to simulated “designer cultures” involving a shift in employee identifi cation (Casey 1996); and that fl exible work conditions often require a metacognitive competence characterized as a self-governing competence (Hanson 2004) by which the individual is able to define, structure, and discipline her own performance and, ultimately, her ability to manage and govern herself in a wider, functional sense.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2014. Vol. 27, p. 23-37
Series
Routledge Studies in Management Organizations and Society ; 27
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108016ISI: 000341096000003ISBN: 978-1-315-81583-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-108016DiVA, id: diva2:753439
Note

AuthorCount:2;

Available from: 2014-10-07 Created: 2014-10-06 Last updated: 2022-02-23Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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