Exploring the benefits and use of flexitime: Similarities and differences

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the benefits of flexitime amongst users and non-users, and determine what flexitime is used for by employees using a gender perspective. Design/methodology/approach – The study consisted of interviews of 30 employees of a New Zealand local-government organisation, including 22 users and eight non-users of flexitime. Social exchange theory was used to test the benefits of flexitime towards job attitudes and work-family balance, while the socialisation perspective was used to explore flexitime usage divided into use by gender and parental status. Findings – Employees were highly positive of flexitime, including the eight non-users. Further, many positive comments were made regarding the important role that flexitime plays in allowing employees to balance their work and family commitments. Analysis showed that while there were no differences between males and females who had no dependants, there were major differences between parents. Mothers, exclusively used their flexitime to support their mothering role like attending school events, while fathers used flexitime for personal activities such as exercise. Research limitations/implications – A limitation of this research is the small sample of employees interviewed. Implications are that flexitime is a very positive work-family practice with universal appeal to all employees including non-users. However, this may come at the expense of reinforcing gendered roles for working mothers and fathers. Future research is needed to determine whether the flexitime usage by gender is universal, and whether working parents see the reinforcing of gender roles as a negative. Originality/value – This paper undertakes one of the few examinations of employee usage of flexitime by gender and parental status, and clearly provides insights that can aid the work-family and gender literature. It also reinforces the value of a work-family practice to users and non-users alike.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Haar, J. (2007). Exploring the benefits and use of flexitime: Similarities and differences. Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 4(1), 69-82.
Emerald Group
Publisher version