Employer Approaches to Recognizing and Managing Intermittent Work Capacity
Gregory, Allan W.
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Purpose – This study explored how intermittent work capacity (IWC) presents in workplaces in order to advance conceptual understanding of this phenomenon and establish a set of initial principles to assist in its management. Design/methodology/approach – The study followed a grounded theory approach in a multi-stage data collection process. In total, 25 employers representing diverse employment sectors were recruited with a goal of exploring their experiences with IWC. The first phase of the study comprised individual interviews with all employers. A subset of these employers later participated in two focus groups organized by company size. Finally, in-depth case studies were conducted with two information rich organizations to understand their approaches to managing IWC. Analysis methods consistent with grounded theory were used. Findings – Although employers have a variety of positive motivations for supporting employees with IWC, they are challenged by the uncertainty arising from the unpredictable work patterns associated with IWC. Five distinct expressions of uncertainty were identified. Negotiation of this uncertainty involves attention to a range of factors, including intrapersonal factors, workplace relations and morale, specific job demands, communication processes, and structural and organizational factors. Research limitations/implications – The findings of this study advance understanding of the expression of IWC, and factors that influence its impact. This paper presents a series of workplace strategies that both enable the well-being and capabilities of employees who experience IWC, and ensure productive and diverse workplaces. Originality/value – The findings of this study advance understanding of the expression of IWC, and factors that influence its impact. This paper presents a series of workplace strategies that both enable the well-being and capabilities of employees who experience IWC, and ensure productive and diverse workplaces.