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Patterns of Organizational Flexibility in Knowledge-intensive Firms – Going Beyond Existing Concepts

Caroline Ruiner, Uta Wilkens and Monika Kuepper

management revue. Socio-economic Studies, 2013, vol. 24, issue 3, 162-178

Abstract: We analyze patterns of flexible employment among the highly qualified workforce in knowledge-intensive firms. Our conceptual starting point is the Flexible Firm that can be traced back to Atkinson. On the basis of a qualitative field study in ten organizations, we show different patterns in employment policy and highlight phenomena that go beyond Atkinson’s concept. It becomes obvious that flexible contracting with an external workforce is a function of allocating expertise instead of gaining numerical flexibility and is furthermore rather driven by knowledge workers than by firms. For systemizing the results of our explorative field work we propose the model of an Amoebic Organization as an alternative flexibility concept.

Keywords: flexible firm; flexible employment; organizational flexibility; strategic management (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D23 M51 M54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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