Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 1 2007, page 44-60.
English resume

Three types of flexibility

How call center employees use distance work

Anders Raastrup Kristensen

This article examines the changes in how employees in an inbound call centre establish a balance between their work life and home life before and after the implementation of a distance-working arrangement. It takes a pilot project in the Danish telecommunication company TDC as its empirical point of departure. Thirteen employees and two managers were interviewed before and after the implementation of the new, more fl exible work arrangements.
The analysis uses the theoretical work of Gilles Deleuze on individuation and modulation to establish a typology of fl exibility. Flexibility as a mode of individuation is not something that constitutes the individuality of already formed individuals. The in dividual is not complete. The most profound relationship between work life and home life is not their actual opposition in terms of resources, energy, and time, but the virtual ‘disparation’ between work and home life. In other words, while work life and home life are of course sites of negative or positive consequents for the life of the employees on the actual level, they are also problematic because they create certain virtual problematics in the life of the em ployees. On the virtual level, then, it is impossible to separate work life from home life. Work life will always be a part of the in ternal environment of home life. There are neither stable ‘working subjects’ nor a stable ‘domestic subjects’; there are, rather, pre-individual metastable subjects that are products of the continuous intermingling of the disparate series of home life and work life.
The analysis does not try to establish fl exibility as a cause of a variety of effects. Flexibility should instead be recognized as distinct ways or strategies that employees deploy their subjectivity in dealing with these profound problematics. There are three different modes of this fl exibility or ways employees modulate between work life and home life: Either home life or work life; home life and work life; Indiscernibility between home life and work life. The first two types of fl exibility have already been described in the literature on work life balance. This article contributes the third.


Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)


 

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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt