Work intensification: A Lacuna in the labour utilisation literature
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The labour flexibility literature has been largely organised around two central forms of labour utilisation: numerical flexibility and functional flexibility. The former denotes the use of a range of different employment forms and working-time arrangements to more accurately adjust labour-use to demand patterns. The latter refers to the expansion of worker autonomy and mobility to allow rapid movement between work tasks. The concepts of numerical and functional flexibility have often been used as defining characteristics of different labour management strategies. However, work is characterised not just by the range and nature of tasks undertaken (functional flexibility) and its quantum (numerical flexibility), but also by its intensity (work effort). Employers can and do adjust effort levels independently of functional and numerical adjustments. Work intensification needs to be recognised as an entirely separate labour adjustment process.
Current Research in Industrial Relations
© 1997 Association of Industrial Relations Academics Australia & New Zealand (AIRAANZ). The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.