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? Telecommuting is work at home or in remote locations and using computer and telecommunication linkages with the office.
? Temporary part-time
work is temporary work of fewer hours than the standard week.
? Permanent part-time
work is permanent work of fewer hours than the standard week.
? PART-TIME WORK
Part-time work has become an increasingly prominent and controversial work arrangement. In temporary part-time work an employee is classified as “temporary” and works less than the standard 40-hour work week. In permanent part-time work the person is considered a “permanent” member of the workforce but contributes fewer hours than the standard, typically 40-hour work week. For example, at Peet’s Coffee and Tea, many of the loyal and satis-
OB Across Functions
New Hiring Practices Have Legal Implications
Flexibility is a watchword of the day in any consideration of work scheduling. The term applies not only to the needs of the workers who want more flexibility in their hours, but also to employers who want flexibility in expanding and contracting their workforces. It is here that the role of the part-time or temporary worker becomes important. When companies employ temporary workers on a regular basis, for at least a year or more, these workers are sometimes called “permatemps.” New legal challenges in U.S. courts are raising important issues of labor law even as part-time and contingency workers become more integral to the hu-man-resource strategies of many organizations. The question relates largely to the availability of benefits for per-matemps, based on who is considered their true “employer.” If the company is considered the employer, instead of the individual worker being considered an independent contractor, permatemps in effect become “com-mon-law workers.” As such, under federal pension laws they are eligible for the benefits available to other workers, unless they have been specifically excluded by policy. Benefits lawyers are watching current cases carefully, since the rulings could open the door for future lawsuits.
228 ? Organizational Behavior
? Organizational design is
the process of choosing and implementing a structural configuration for an organization.
? Simple design is a configuration involving one or two ways of specializing individuals and units.
fied Peetniks fall into this category. By working at least 21 hours a week, they are considered permanent and gain access to important benefits otherwise denied to the temporary part-time workers.80
Usually, temporary part-timers are easily released and hired as needs dictate. Accordingly, many organizations use part-time work to hold down labor costs and to help smooth out peaks and valleys in the business cycle. Employers also may use part-time work to better manage what may be called “retention quality.” These workers are highly skilled individuals committed to their careers who want to continue to develop professionally but who can only work part time. Part-time nurses, among others, fall in this category.81
The part-time work schedule can be a benefit to people who want to supplement other jobs or who want something less than a full work week for a variety of personal reasons. For someone who is holding two jobs, including at least one part time, the added burdens can be stressful and may affect performance in either one or both work settings. Furthermore, part-timers often fail to qualify for fringe benefits, such as health care, life insurance, and pensions, and they may be paid less than their full-time counterparts. Nevertheless, part-time work schedules are of growing practical importance because of the organizational advantages they offer.
Organizational Design and Size
Organizational design is the process of choosing and implementing a structural configuration.82 The choice of an appropriate organizational design is contingent upon several factors, including the size of the firm, its operations and information technology, its environment, and the strategy it selects for growth and survival.
For many reasons, large organizations cannot be just bigger versions of their smaller counterparts. As the number of individuals in a firm increases arithmetically, the number of possible interconnections among them increases geometrically. In other words, the direct interpersonal contact among all members in a large organization must be managed. The design of small firms is directly influenced by its core operations technology, whereas larger firms have many core operations technologies in a wide variety of much more specialized units. In large organizations, a key to success is efficiency by economies of scale—production of products and services efficiently through repetition. Specialization of labor, equipment, and departments is one way of capturing the potential economies of scale. Increasing specialization calls for increased control and coordination to ensure that actions are directed toward common goals and linked together in a meaningful way. In short, larger organizations are often more complex than smaller firms. This additional complexity calls for a more sophisticated organizational design. Yet even very large organizations also rely on simple design elements.