Date of Award

9-1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

Supervisor

Pamela Sugiman

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis is a case study of the flextime policy at McMaster University, which has been in formal use since the spring of 1981. It is a qualitative study based on the examination of written documents and interviews with thirty-four respondents, thirty-one who are University library employees working according to the policy. The other three respondents are individuals who have in the past been, or are presently, involved in developing, implementing, and/or administering the policy. Because the majority of existing studies on flextime are based on quantitative research methods, it is a goal of this thesis is to take a qualitative approach, more specifically a grounded theory approach, and analyze issues related to flextime as they arise out of the data. The researcher chose the University libraries as the setting in which to examine flextime work schedules for two central reasons. First, the majority of the employees are female and are employed in nonprofessional, white-collar positions. The relevance is that such employees are one of the two main groups of workers most likely to have access to flextime. Second, the setting includes individuals at various points in the life cycle who thus have different needs and expectations of the workplace. Therefore it may be possible to apply the findings from this setting to other workplaces and employees. Numerous documents were explored and three individuals were interviewed in order to explore the history and logistics behind the flextime policy. The interviews provided information pertaining to when, how, and why the policy was introduced, as well as valuable insight as to how it is presently administered. Thirty-one employees were interviewed in order to gain an understanding as to how flextime affects both their paid and their domestic work lives. For the majority of the employees, one of the main advantages of flextime is that attempting to combine paid work and domestic responsibilities is made somewhat easier and less stressful. Interestingly, although there are a number of factors which actually limit the extent to which employees can use their flextime privileges, many of them reported that flextime never-the-less gives them a feeling of added control. The researcher suggests however, that these feelings are related more to the additional control they experience over the scheduling of factors in their personal lives, as opposed to additional control over their paid work.

McMaster University Library

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