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The concept of flexibility and its occasional misuse
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Working Life Science.
2002 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

The focus of this paper is to raise awareness of the complexity of the concept of flexibility and its occasional misuse. Flexibility as it most often is studied, is defined as the point of departure in capitalism. Even the smallest firms are measured by these criterions. By using the methodological standpoint of critical realism and the structural life mode analysis I have studied the rationality behind adjusting to changes in small firms with focus on adjusting employment levels to variation in workload. By doing this I have answered the question of a possible misuse of the concept of flexibility. My conclusion is that the concept of flexibility, defined with a starting point in the capitalist principles of the economic market, is occasionally misused in literature. Taking the point of departure in capitalism it is assumed that all firms strive to live by the rules of a capitalist market and to adjust to its principles. My structural perspective shows that not all small firms are driven by these motives powers. The rationality to run a firm when the owner lives the so-called independent life mode, derive first of all from independency. This rationality influences adjusting to changes in these firms and it also influences relations between an entrepreneur and an employee. An entrepreneurs trust expressing the independent life mode-specific work values and ethics, is fundamentally different from an employees trust if the employee is living the worker life mode. Thus trust can be a hindrance for adjusting the employment levels to variation in workload

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Flexibility, small firms, trust, capitalism
National Category
Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-24320OAI: diva2:598087
47th ICSB World Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2002
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2013-01-22

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Bergqvist, Tuula
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