Flexible Firm Hrm

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Assignment 2

(a)Outline the main forms of flexibility as defined in Atkinson’s (1984) model of the flexible firm

(b) What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Atkinson model?

ANSWER PLAN:
Introduction/Background
oWhat are the aims of flexibility
oGuest (1987) de-centralisation helps to create flexibility oWhat are the main forms of flexibility that modern organisation need

Body: 4 types of flexibility
oFunctional/Temporal/Numerical/Financial

Body 2: Atkinson’s Model
oCore group
oFrist/Second peripheral groups
How each of these differ
oOutsourcing activities/ Agency / Self-employed/Sub-contracting

Advantages / Disadvantages of Atkinson’s model

Criticism

Conclusion

In highly competitive environment, organisations need to be able to react quickly and effectively to changes. David Guest (1987) in advocating de-centralisation emphasised the role it plays in increasing flexibility within an organisation. He cited flexibility as one of the keys to responding effectively to changes in the environment, and that it is essential for organisational success. The main forms of flexibility in modern organisation according to Blyton and Morris (1992) are four: Functional, Temporal, Numerical and Financial.

Functional flexibility involves the task of multi-skilling where employees are required to possess one specific skill and many other generalist ones. This means a reduced specialisation of roles with individuals being trained to carry out a much wider range of activities than before.

The purpose of numerical flexibility is to expand and contract the labour force according to specific demand for it. In times of expansion, more workers are required. Conversely a smaller workforce is needed if the business is decreasing.

The third form is temporal flexibility. In this case the number and distribution of hours varies. It concerns different approaches to managing the time of employees, such as “annual...
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