Flex for success : A case study of the role of a leader in highly flexible organisations

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för organisation och entreprenörskap (OE)

Abstract: Due to dynamic and rapid changing markets, technology has helped companies adapt to the market conditions and forced them to undergo a transition from permanent structures to more adaptable ones. Researchers have stressed that by implementing more adaptable structures, companies have a better chance to utilize both personnel and business resources. By implementing flexibility in working hours and place, firms increase their chances of better coping with dynamic changes in the business environment and better meet the individual needs of the employees. This leads to the subjective constructed concept timeplace flexibility. One neglected aspect in previous research, is the link between timeplace flexibility and the role of the leader when employees get increased control and responsibility over their schedules and tasks. Hence, the purpose of this study is to discuss what role the leader plays in a highly timeplace flexible organisation. By using an inductive approach together with a qualitative research method, three theoretical concepts- Leadership styles in flexible organisations, organisational communication and self-management- have been identified to support the understanding of the empirical findings. The empirical data is collected from two companies, which have implemented timeplace flexibility in different ways. The outcome of this study suggests the leader in highly timeplace flexible organisations to act as a visionary and communicate organisational goals. Emphasis is also on acting supportive and to coach the employees when they are faced with challenges. Although, individuals in a highly timeplace flexible organisation have a lot of responsibility and can somewhat be viewed to practising self-management, having a leader is considered to be significant. The direct control of the leader has decreased but instead, it can be interpreted as the control manifests itself via the internal business culture in forms of social values and norms. Consequently, the study can serve meaningful to leaders in highly timeplace flexible organisations or companies who wish to implement more adaptable structures.

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