Flexible work arrangements in higher education : A tale of two groups
Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
Flexible work arrangements (FW A) and family friendly policies have been used as sign posts of modern progressive organisations, and tools of attraction and retention during periods of economic boom and downturn. Benefits of FWAs have been widely reported for both employees and organisations; however, studies and findings are sparse in the higher education sector. The sector is interesting in that the boom-bust cycles are reversed; and with the downturn in the economy, many are returning to tertiary study. As well, the higher education sector has traditionally had a clear delineation between the work of academic and general staff. In this paper we propose that with the intensification of work in the higher education sector, the divide between the work arrangements of these two distinct groups, academic and general staff, is narrowing. The focus on students as customers has raised expectations of 'service' to students by academic staff resulting in the need to be 'present' and available. On the other hand, non-traditional study pathways have resulted in less rigid work environments for general staff, in turn allowing this group better access to FWAs.