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

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  • Ruiner, Caroline
  • Wilkens, Uta
  • Kuepper, Monika

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruiner, Caroline & Wilkens, Uta & Kuepper, Monika, 2013. "Patterns of Organizational Flexibility in Knowledge-intensive Firms – Going Beyond Existing Concepts," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 24(3), pages 162-178.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2013_3_ruiner
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    Keywords

    flexible firm; flexible employment; organizational flexibility; strategic management;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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