Sub-theme 38: New ways to work: Organizing work and working practices

Julia Richardson
York University, Canada
Clare Kelliher
Cranfield School of Management, UK

Call for Papers

Drawing on the passion for creativity and innovation that permeates the 25th EGOS Colloquium, this stream explores new ways of organizing work and working practices. In a context where work is no longer simply a place to go to, but an activity to engage in, finding new ways to organize work is an important challenge for many organizations. The extent to which they succeed in this endeavour is closely tied to technological innovation and its impact on how work is done, where it is done and by whom (Tietze, 2005). Thus, recent technological innovations have created a diverse menu of work arrangements such as flexi time, flex work, the compressed work week, telecommuting and remote working. These new working practices also create diversity in work relationships such as global and virtual teams, changes in managerial control mechanisms and leadership roles. They also foster more creative use of space such as 'hot desking', 'hotelling', mobile offices and teleconferencing.

Providing employees with more diverse working arrangements can have benefits for the employer and the employee (Kelliher and Anderson, 2008; Schweitzer and Duxbury, 2006). The employer can reduce real estate and overhead costs by reducing the need for office space. Productivity , employee satisfaction and retention may also increase (Sanchez et al., 2007). Some of the new working practices also change the relationship between the employee and the home, where home becomes a site for work and the organization a place for socialization (Richardson, 2007). Employees may be challenged to incorporate these new ways of working into their non-work relationships with family and friends, etc. Yet, they may also stand to gain from such arrangements, with more opportunities for life balance and reduced commuting costs. From this standpoint, new work arrangements seem like a win-win opportunity.

Yet, taking a more critical stance, new working practices expose the family and private domains to the 'vagaries' of work (Tietze and Musson, 2003). They may also create professional isolation and changes to employee identity. Indeed, some organizations have been slower to embrace new working practices than others and some managers and decision-makers have actively resisted such innovations (Peters and Den Dulk, 2003). Rationales for such resistance have been linked with concerns about organizational productivity, performance, identity and control.

While some authors have welcomed creativity in organizing work practices, others are more circumspect. Contributors to this stream are encouraged from both sides of the debate. The organizers also welcome contributions from other perspectives in order to facilitate a more composite and dynamic understanding of this highly topical and important field of study.

We especially encourage contributions on the following:

  • New work practices and the impact on organizational and individual identity
  • Technological innovation and new work practices
  • The 'darker side' of new work practices
  • Blurring the boundaries between home and work
  • Organizational and individual resistance to new work practices
  • The future of new work practices
  • The winners and losers of new work practices
  • New work practices – beyond the organization, the implications for society

The EGOS Colloquium has a tradition of active participation and collegiality, encouraging new and established researchers to present diverse and innovative empirical and conceptual papers. This sub-theme continues that trend and encourages submissions from a broad range of perspectives and disciplines. Contributors are also encouraged to think of new ways in which to present their work.


Kelliher, C. and D. Anderson (2008): "For better or for worse? An analysis of how Flexible Work Practices influence employees' perceptions of job quality." International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Peters, P. and L. Den Dulk (2003): Cross cultural differences in managers' support for home-based telework." International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 3 (3), 329–346.

Richardson, J. (2007): Flexible Work Practices and work intensity: a Canadian Study. Paper presented at the Critical Management Studies Conference, Manchester.

Sanchez, A.M., M.P. Perez, P. de Luis Carnicer and M.J. Vela-Jimenez (2007): "Teleworking and workplace flexibility: a study of impact on firm performance." Personnel Review, 36 (1), 42–64.

Schweitzer, L. and L. Duxbury (2006): "Benchmarking the use of telework arrangements in Canada." Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 23 (2), 105–117.

Tietze, S. (2002): "When 'work' comes 'home': coping strategies of teleworkers and their families." Journal of Business Ethics, 41 (4), 385–397.

Tietze, S. (2005): "Discourse as strategic coping resource: managing the interface between 'home' and 'work'." Journal of Organizational Change Management, 18 (1), 48–62.

Tietze, S. and G. Musson (2003): "The times and temporalities of home-based telework." Personnel Review, 32 (4), 438–455.

Julia Richardson 
Clare Kelliher