Comparing Flexibility: Flexible Firms in a Cross-National Perspective
- Side: 19-35
- Publisert på Idunn: 2004-05-16
- Publisert: 2003-05-16
This paper illustrates the usefulness of applying a cross-national perspective in HRM research, here exemplified by a study of organizational flexibility. We compare numerical and functional flexible work practices in the United States and Norway. We explain the greater use of numerical flexible work practices in Norway by the stricter regulations on employers' access to terminate regular contracts, and the substantial use of leave of absences. The use of functional flexible work practices is equally prevalent in both countries; only the use of self-directed teams seems to be more widespread in Norway. While this may reflect a convergence between the countries, we emphasize that the content of these work practices depends on the institutional settings. Furthermore, we suggest that the implications of flexible work practices may differ in these countries. Because fringe benefits, such as health insurance, are provided to people based on their residency in Norway, not their employment status, holding a temporary job may have less unfortunate implications in that country.