Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 3 2003, page 59-80.
Hans Jeppe Jeppesen
In order to build up a foundation for analysing the complexity of flexible working time issues the article draws up a theoretical clarification of working time and its structures. From that a further clarification is made of working time and its integration with flexibility. It is underlined that flexibility in a working time context can only be fully understood from a relational control approach.
An assessment of the development of the Danish labour market regulations shows, that through the 90’s regulations have developed in a way that facilitate the introduction and praxis of flexible working time schedules. This has emerged via an increase in the reference periods for calculating the weekly working hours and in giving the local partners increased authority and more opportunities to organize and design schedules. The realization of these conditions is dependant upon the partners acceptance of the making of local agreements. At the same time, this development in regulations offers the employees at the local level better opportunities to influence working time issues and create flexible schedules that offer them some levels of control.
From a review of specially selected studies of flexible schedules from a control perspective it is estimated that employee control has favourable effects at both organizational and individual level. Employee control is found to enhance the balance between working and social life and reduce detrimental effects. It is argued that a participatory approach to the design and implementation of working time issues will offer possibilities to spread control and by that increase prevention strategies.