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A REVIEW OF FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS INITIATIVES IN THE NIGERIAN TELECOMMUNICATION INDUSTRY

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International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (IJCIET)
Volume 10, Issue 03, March 2019, pp. 934–950, Article ID: IJCIET_10_03_092
Available online at http://www.iaeme.com/ijmet/issues.asp?JType=IJCIET&VType=10&IType=3
ISSN Print: 0976-6308 and ISSN Online: 0976-6316
© IAEME Publication
Scopus Indexed
A REVIEW OF FLEXIBLE WORK
ARRANGEMENTS INITIATIVES IN THE
NIGERIAN TELECOMMUNICATION
INDUSTRY
Ogueyungbo Opeyemi, Akinnusi Maloma, Igbinoba Ebe, Salau Odunayo,
Olokundun Maxwell, Falola Hezekiah
Covenant University, Nigeria
ABSTRACT
Flexible work arrangements in Nigeria’s sectors especially in the
telecommunication industry has been aided and abated by rapid technological
development. But despite this growth, the implementation still becomes worrisome.
Extant literature has shown that telecommunication industry largely focuses on teleworking through the use of information technology (IT) by networking computers using
intranet and internet technologies while other aspects of flexible work arrangement are
indirectly ignored. It is against this background that this study focuses on the
antecedents, benefits, challenges of flexible work arrangements and they are all
reviewed extensively in this paper.
Key words: Tourism Awareness, Tourism Development, Regional Development.
Cite this Article: Ogueyungbo Opeyemi, Akinnusi Maloma, Igbinoba Ebe,
Salau Odunayo, Olokundun Maxwell, Falola Hezekiah, A Review of Flexible Work
Arrangements Initiatives in the Nigerian Telecommunication Industry, International
Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology 10(3), 2019, pp. 934–950.
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1. INTRODUCTION
1.1. Background to the Study
The need for flexible work arrangements has become an essential issue in the practices of
strategic human resource management. Flexible work arrangement was first introduced at a
German aerospace company in 1967 as an approach to lessen worker absenteeism due to
commuting issues (Avery & Zabel, 2001). Prior to this time, the workforce was largely
dominated by men but, during this period when the flexible work arrangements were
introduced, more women went into the workforce and kept working subsequent to having
children and this resulted in the need to care for children and also even their parents increased
as individuals lived longer, and this provoked requests for flexible work options. In the recent
years, increasing number of organizations in developed countries are mostly offering and
providing a range of flexible working options to their employees. These includes: flexi-time,
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telecommuting, moon-lighting, subcontracting or outsourcing, compressed work week,
overtime, shift and part-time work. For many employers, this has been a reaction to growing
interest in work–life balance and this in turn has really helped employees to effectively manage
work-family conflict which has gained a lot of academic attention (Radó, Nagy & Király, 2015).
The practice of flexible work arrangements has also been extended to developing nations
but often affected by a number of contextual influences which include: resistance to change,
lack of trust, and support (Brown, Smith, Arduengo & Taylor, 2016). The term “flexible work
arrangements” integrates a wide range of both formal and informal workplace practices
designed to meet the “life” desires for diversity of employees especially in Nigeria. Flexible
working arrangements is an important tool used for promoting work-life balance and managing
workplace conflict (John, 2017). This diverse workforce captures the multi-generational
workforce which include the traditionalists, baby boomers and millennials.
Nigeria, as one of the developing countries, is where globalization has given rise to lots of
opportunities and challenges, and the most populous country in Africa with a growing economy
representing an enormous labour market force (Falola, Salau, Omoniyi-Oyafunke &
Olokundun, 2016; Radó, et al., 2015). The structure of work pattern in Nigeria is generally
categorized into two categories: formal and informal categories. The formal category is often
practiced in both government-owned institutions like government funded universities, public
hospitals, police force. In private establishments like the telecommunications industry, hostel
businesses, transportation, private owned universities mention just a few. On the other hand,
the informal category is practiced by indigenous entrepreneurs who engage in self-employed
micro, small, medium and large businesses (Akanji, 2013). This study is carried out in the
telecommunication industry, a sector in a country where globalization has posed real challenges
and opportunities and this has necessitated a wider scope for employers to design and adopt
work-family policies (Akanji, 2013).
Flexible work arrangements in Nigeria’s sectors especially in the telecommunication
industry has been aided and abated by rapid technological development. But despite this
growth, the implementation still becomes worrisome. Extant literature has shown that
telecommunication industry largely focuses on tele-working through the use of information
technology (IT) by networking computers using intranet and internet technologies while other
aspects of flexible work arrangement are indirectly ignored. It is against this background that
this study focuses on the antecedents, benefits, challenges of flexible work arrangements and
they are all reviewed extensively in this paper.
1.2. Statement of the Research Problem
Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) focus on more flexibility in the work place, scheduling of
hours used at work and the number of hours used at work. In any technology-driven nation,
flexible arrangements give employees higher control to choose where and when work is
performed and over how much time they decide to work. In developed countries like Germany,
United States of America, Canada, China and United Kingdom, the practice of FWAs include
telecommuting, job sharing, shifts, compressed work weeks and part time (Avery & Zabel,
2001). Even though flexible work option is getting increasingly common for both government
and private owned firms across the globe, yet there is limited evidence on the implementation
of such practices in Nigeria’s context (Ojo, Salau & Falola, 2014).
Some studies have highlighted commuting issues as the first antecedent of flexible work
arrangements (Avery & Zabel, 2001). However, the 21st century accompanied with various
global developments have increased the reason companies facilitate work flexibility
(Humphreys, Fleming & O’Donnell, 2000). Limited studies have only considered commuting
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as a major antecedent, ignoring other factors responsible for flexible work arrangements.
Hence, this study examines in detail the antecedents of flexible work arrangements.
Flexible work arrangements lead to increased energy for employees and increased
productivity for employers (Al-Rajudi, 2012). Studies have been carried out to examine the
benefits of these flexible work arrangement initiatives on sustainability especially in the
banking and manufacturing sector (Ojo, et al., 2014: Oludayo, Gberevbie & Popoola, 2015)
while the competing benefits to both employers and employees in were largely ignored.
Organizations are increasingly formulating strategies for promoting flexible work
arrangement while the implementation of these strategies have become rhetoric. Extant
literature (Cooker, 2012; Radó, et al., 2015) have shown that poor implementation of flexible
work arrangements is as a result of some challenges emanating from the business environment.
Hence, this study examines the challenges in implementing and promoting flexible work
arrangements from both the employee and employers’ perspective.
Prior studies (Ojo, et al, 2014; Humphreys, et al., 2000) have indicated that flexible work
arrangements should be seen as a source of motivation in the workplace. As a result, most of
the theories underlying the principles of work-life balance have concentrated largely on the
borders between the work and family domains. Surprisingly, the influencing factors of flexible
work arrangements such as cultural traits (technology, innovative ideas, customs, values and
belief, leadership and work attitudes have largely been over-looked or ignored. Hence, this
study will develop a conceptual model for expanding future theories of work-life balance.
1.3. Objectives of the Study
This paper generally assessed the impact of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) initiatives in
the telecommunication industry.
The specific objectives were to:

determine the antecedents of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) in the telecommunication
industry.

examine the perceived benefits of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) to both employees’ and
employers in the telecommunication industry.

identify the challenges in promoting flexible work arrangements (FWAs) for employees and
employers’ perspectives in the telecommunication industry.

develop a model/framework of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) for the expansion of future
theories.
1.4. Research Questions

What are the antecedents of flexible work arrangements in the telecommunication sector?

What are the perceived benefits of flexible work arrangements to both employees and employers
in the telecommunication sector?

What are the challenges in promoting flexible work arrangements from employees’ and
employers’ perspectives in the telecommunication sector?

To what extent can the influencing factors be used to develop a model/framework of flexible
work arrangements (FWAs) and the expansion of future theories?
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2. LITERATURE REVIEW
Methodology
The main objective of this study is to conceptualize FWAs and examines its antecedence,
benefits and challenges in the telecommunication sector.
Research Design
Review research design was adopted and recent articles on flexible work arrangements in some
databases like Elsevier, SAGE, EBSCO among others were extensively reviewed.
Research Method
Literature Review was adopted as research method. This was considered appropriate in other
to give a summary and critical analysis of relevant research based on the objectives of this
study.
Method of Data Analysis
Conceptual Analysis was used as the method of data Analysis. Various concepts and theoretical
perspectives relevant to this study were critically discussed and analysed.
2.1. Flexible Work Arrangements Defined
Flexible work arrangements are the kinds of preparations that allow the employee of an
organization to have a higher level of control as regards to when and where and how they work.
Flexible work arrangements mean a higher level of flexibility in the workplace, hours
scheduling and the amount of hours worked. Flexible work arrangements allow employees and
their organizations to make informed choices about when (e.g. flexi time compressed
workweeks,), where (e.g. telecommuting), and for how long (e.g. reduced hours part-time) jobrelated activities can be achieved and accomplished (John, 2017). Flexible work arrangements
grew in popularity because of changes in the workforce demographics and also the demands of
employee for greater work-life balance (Wendt, 2010).
Flexible work arrangements allow employees the opportunity to engage in flexible working
hours, part-time work, saving overtime, compressed working weeks and working from home,
not necessarily from the office (Groen, Triest, Coers & Wtenweerde, 2018). These
arrangements have ultimately helped in maintaining and achieving work-life balance for
employees across various levels of management. A study by Ojo, et al, (2014) also added that
FWAs practices allows employees to have a control regarding when and where work is done
and over the time they choose to work, leading to work life balance of employee and lesser
work family conflict. Al-Rajudi, (2012) elucidated that mothers that were permitted to work at
home after child delivery demonstrated lower labour turnover and higher levels of effectiveness
as a result of these family-friendly policies.
However, there are some issues and challenges that surrounds flexible work arrangements.
Employers resisting change, for example, is a challenge to its implementation. Change which
is inevitable could be resisted especially where change is initiated by the employees, employers
may not really perceive their benefits to the employee at the moment and also the wider
implementation of FWAs could only be visible when the organizational culture facilitates the
participation and interaction of employee though the process needs consistency, time and
decisiveness to overcome organizational inertia.
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2.2. Flexible Work Arrangements: A Catalyst for Promoting Work-Life Balance
(WLB)
The concept of WLB came into existence as a result of the need for employee to balance their
personal and work life. According to Greenhaus (1985) work life balance is satisfaction with
good functioning with minimal role conflict. As noted by Bell (2010), work life balance is the
general life satisfaction with individuals life and work this involves appropriate arrangement of
the work (ambition and career) and lifestyle (pleasure, health, spiritual development, leisure
and family). Flexible working arrangements are means of achieving work life balance by
reducing work-life conflict and absenteeism (Clarke & Holdsworth, 2017).
Work flexibility has become a strategic practice for promoting work-life balance policies in
both public and private organizations (Kossek, Lewis & Hammer, 2010). The rapid pace of
technological innovation has exerted constant pressure and forced management of
organizations in the European countries to separate the time employee spent on a job and the
task itself, in as much the job is done efficiently and effectively. As a result of this, the demand
for flexible work arrangements in various sectors especially in the telecommunication industry
has always exceed its supply as employee constantly demands more for work-life balance and
to work in an environment that is less stressful to be able to manage their life’s components
more effectively.
2.3. Flexible Work Arrangements in the Telecommunication Industry
Organizations in United States have long recognized flexible work arrangements (FWAs) as a
tool for attracting talented and retaining competent employees across various sectors especially
in the telecommunication sector (Allen, 2015). Today, almost 70 percent of top managers in
United State of America (USA) offers variety of flexible work arrangements initiatives to attract
and keep top-tier employees in the technology-based firms, while more than 75 percent of
American ICT firms also promote these initiatives to retain their talents. But the implementation
of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) initiatives vary significantly even among firms in the
same industry (Bloom, Liang, Roberts & Ying, 2014).
One of the tactics to aid the attainment of personal life fulfilment and professional vision
for workers is the entrenchment of flexible work arrangements strategies by employers of
labour. The flexible arrangements used in the ICT industry are used to attract talented
employees in the sector using the various policies such as the Telecommuting, job sharing, part
time, shift, compressed week, annualized hours, overtime, sub-contracting (John, 2017). In
Nigeria, some of the flexible work policies as indicated by Oludayo, Falola, Ahaka & Fatogun,
(2018), are categorized into two formal and informal support policies
The formal support policies include:

Time policies such as flexi-time, Telecommuting, moon-lighting, subcontracting or
outsourcing, compressed work week, overtime, shift and part-time work.

Dependent care initiatives such as off-site child care, on- site child care and Elder care
initiatives.

Leave policies which includes maternity vacations, parental leave, paid family & medical
leaves, and sabbatical leave.
While the informal support policies include Organizational support, managerial support and
co-worker support.
2.3.1. Formal Support Policies
(1) Time Policies: Employees have higher more control of their time with flexible time
initiatives. This helps to balance family, personal with work related activities. Seemingly,
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flexible work arrangements and the ability to work on an independently set plan are steadily
rated as the most appreciated choices provided by employers (Oludayo, Gberevbie & Popoola,
2015). The time policies cover areas like telecommuting, flexi-time, job sharing, compressed
work weeks, overtime, part-time work, shift work, moonlighting, sub-contracting or
outsourcing
(a) Telecommuting: Allen, Golden and Shockley (2015) defined telecommuting as “a form of
work organization in which work is done partially or completely outside the organisation with
the aid of information and telecommunication services”. Telecommuting, also known as remote
work or telework, with the help of information and technological devices helps employees, to
perform their work in different places instead of the central workplace. Telecommuting can be
part time or full time, with the part time predominant in recent years. Telecommuting has
advantages at the individual, organizational and societal level (Allen, Golden & Shockley,
2015).
(b) Flexi-time: This provides employee the opportunity to meet up with household or personal
obligations or even emergencies, during the day and also to reduce time spent on commuting
by starting and ending work before or after the rush hour (Cooker, 2012). Flexi-time allows
employees, to decide the beginning and closing times of their work day, in as much as certain
amount of hours has been used.
(c) Job sharing: This is where two or more employee share a job that is full time, these same
employees share the compensation determined by the number of hours each of the employee
does. Jobs are shared by splitting of days, splitting of weeks or alternate weeks. The
accomplishment of job sharing is dependent on a very good partnership between the workers
and also requires team work spirit by the employees involved in the telecommunication sector
(Felstead & Henseke, 2017).
(d) Compressed Work Weeks: Employees most of the time demands for compressed work
weeks, but sometimes employers that desires to increase working efficiency and also to
maximize production to enhance customer service can initiate the option. However, with these
whereby employee’s arrangement employee works for elongated shifts in exchange for reduced
number of work days in the work cycle (e.g. on a biweekly or on a weekly basis).
(e) Overtime: Overtime is generally hours that employees worked over the normal hours of
work and this can either be compulsory or voluntary. In a standard system overtime is more
associated with hourly paid staff than salaried staff.
(f) Part-Time Work: According to Clarke (2001), part-time workers are the workers that works
less than 35 hours a week and this set of employee are reported to have the lowest levels of
psychological and physical health problems. Workers who wishes to balance their work and
family participates in part time work while workers that prefer working for longer hours are not
satisfied with part time work.
(g) Shift work: In shift work, workers usually work in teams, these are groups of workers who
make up a separate shift team (Bentley, Teo, McLeod, Tana, Bosua & Gloet, 2016). Some shift
systems operate, each group constantly change the hour of its work and then start to shift
morning, afternoon, and night.
(h) Moonlighting: This is a situation whereby organizations agree to pay a bonus to an employee
that offers to take up a second job just in the same organization (Osinbajo, Falola, Akinbode &
Adeniji, 2015).
(i) Sub-contracting or outsourcing: This is the use of a contract workers to accomplish a given
task. Subcontracting provides the use of proficient staff professionals for a limited period. These
workers include full time employees of large establishments- such as computer,
telecommunication or building firms to entrepreneurs.
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(2) Dependent Care Initiatives: Dependent care initiatives are one of the policies provided by
employer to reduce work and family conflict the whole essence is to give employees that are
have care giving roles to concentrate on the care giving activities. Organizations carry out these
activities by proving referral services, emergency back-up care arrangements and after-school
programs for employees in the telecommunication industry (Oludayo, Gberevbie & Popoola,
2015).

On-site child care: In these situation employers ensures that plan aligns with work demands
putting all these with time that will provide for all shifts with all these to ensure that the different
employee demands are adjusted to (Friedman, 2001).

Off-site child care: organizations provide these supports services by subsidizing child care
service to their employee.

Elder care initiatives: These initiative by organization offer assistance to employee by providing
referral services and also subsidizes the cost of employing elder care-giver to employee with
elders to care for.
According to Oludayo, Gberevbie & Popoola, (2015), these initiatives enables employees
to have access to safe quality dependent care services; so that they can concentrate on their jobs
without distractions and as a result organization can expect great outcomes in satisfied delivery
of the work of employees. A practical illustration is in the situation of an employee who is
predictable to have reduced productivity and increased rate of absenteeism because of problems
that arises as a result of child care but have engaged a dependent child- care service will
definitely experience reduced absenteeism and high productivity.
(3) Leave Policies: This is the total number of hours/days an employees are allowed to be away
from their job position without consequences. Organizations usually pay for the time off and
employees can request for any reason the particular time they want to be off work. Some of the
leave policies are highlighted and explain below:
(a) Parental Leave: This is an official permission organisations give to employees that have
child care duties to perform. Women are allowed to have twelve weeks leave with half pay but
usually the welfares are more substantial with maternity leave fully paid. Women are usually
the higher recipients of this leave in Nigeria with maternity leave that permits nursing mothers
to take time off work for 3 months while Lagos state government allows nursing mothers to be
away for 6 months with full pay (Friedman, 2001).
(b) Career’s leave: Career’s leave is the permission that is official in nature and this allows
employee to be away from work either to take care of an immediate family or someone injured.
(c) Emergency Leave: This is the type of leave that is given to employee to deal with
circumstances that are not planned and are somewhat unusual e.g. burglary at home.
(d) Medical and paid family leave: This is the official leave of absence given to employees to
take care of dependent care issues or concerns of employee that related with their health
(Oludayo, 2015).
(e) Sick leave: Sick leave is the official leave granted to an employee to take time off from work
to attend to their health needs and at the same time not losing pay.
(f) Study leave: This is the leave given to any employee who is going through a study course
that is approved by the employer. Training leave is also given to employee for individual and
organizational development.
2.3.2. Informal Support Policies
Informal support has been seen as an important variable in ensuring that there is link between
work and non-work responsibilities. According to Oludayo, et al (2015) informal support in
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organizations can be examined from the general concept of social support. These social support
programmes stimulate employees’ perception of physical and emotional comfort and care from
employers, co-workers and others.
Social organizational support relates to a wider concept of organizational culture. No matter
the quality of the of flexible initiatives, they will be less effective if not supported by the culture
of the organization. Extant literature has shown that informal support policies include
Organizational support, managerial support and co-worker support.

Organizational Support: This is essential for successful flexible work arrangement and it must
be present on the structural part of these arrangements as well. Starting from the right job
description and work policies at the top level are the basic foundation for implementing any
flexible work arrangement.

Managerial Support: supportive manager is an essential element of the informal support
received by the employee (Clark, 2001). Employee’s idea of organizational support is deduced
from the favorable or unfavorable attitude of their managers towards them. Manager can either
encourage employees or discourage them from taking up any of these programs, supportive
management can influence productivity rates such as job satisfaction, retention and employee
commitment (Rhoades & Eisenberger 2002).

Co-worker Support: Co-worker support according to Rhoades, and Eisenberger (2002) is
divided into four categories, the first is global functional coworker support, communication that
relates to positive and negative issues at work, and communication about issues that are nonwork. An evaluation of these categories reveals that that coworker support decreases employee
depression and also was communication about positive issues in the work place by employee
reduced frustration while on the other hand increased depression and was related with
communication about negative issues at work leads to frustration. Teleworkers have reduced
interaction with colleagues which can result in social isolation, this means that organizational
social support is important and should also be used to reduce depression, frustration and increase
life satisfaction of teleworkers (Bentley, Teo, McLeod, Tana, Bosua & Gloet, 2016).
3. ANTECEDENTS OF FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS (FWAS)
Extant literature has often reiterated the major factors responsible for flexible work
arrangements. Though most of these studies principally identified commuting as a major source
but recent studies have also considered other factors or antecedents responsible for FWAs.

Commuting: Commuting is known to be one of the “stickiest,” most resilient habits. In the 1960s
the major cities close to employment clusters, have high real estate prices and be less family
friendly than suburban or exurban regions. Employee decides to live in the suburban areas
because of the high prices of real estate, that potentially take hours out of their day. In other to
reduce absenteeism, the German space company came up with FWAs allowing workers to work
at home (Telecommuting), run shift, part time etc. to reduce commuting issues (Avery & Zabel,
2001).
In expounding the need for increased flexible work pattern, other factors have also been
identified from extant and recent literature. These factors include the following:

Changing Demography’s: Globalization has become a major force for increased participation
of men and women in the labor force. As globalization increases, the number of workforce also
multiplied with a sparing increase in attrition, marital instability and divorce of women
specifically. This eventually call for the need and implementation of work flexible patterns that
accommodate cultural differences.

Technological Innovation: (e.g., Satellite, Fiber optics, Digital switching and others):
Technology revolution has established new markets and new system supply that has affected
corporate relationships. The introduction of satellite, digital switching, fiber optics and a new
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form of wireless in the telecommunication industry has a particular dramatic impact on customer
usage. Technological change has eroded the need for traditional job description in the
telecommunication industry in Nigeria, Hence the need for FWAs.

Dual-Income Households: Parents in several developed countries depends on flexible work to
be able to combine their personal and professional lives. Double-income couples have become
increasingly common in the telecommunication industry of a growing economy like Nigeria.
Hence, they switch to more to flexible arrangements, such as flexi time, compressed work
weeks, which may decrease their earning and other benefits and give them more time for family
(Golden, 2001).

Increased number of employees with caring responsibilities: Child care and elder care is an
important issue that many employers and employees are addressing leading to the initiation of
work life initiatives. However, more employees are going through the challenge of having at
least one or more parents either living separately with support at home or with facilities such as
assisted living or nursing homes (Society for Human Resource Management, 2008).

Varying needs of the different generations in the workplace: Employees that are less than 35
years in organizations are called the millennials, they have the ability to multitask than the older
generations, and they also appreciate flexibility at work. Without stress millennials switch
numerous devices at once and they learn significantly while still paying attention to other
activities. Millennials are known to switch attention between media (e.g., television, tablets,
smart phones and laptops) twenty-seven times per hour on average, sixty percent more than the
older generations which include (traditionalist and baby boomers in the organization)
(Steinberg, 2012). And all that they want in organizations are the flexible work arrangements
which enable them to work free of supervision and in their own space, (Twenge, 2010).
Millennial generation grew up with technology are doing well in the telecommunication
industry hence the need for FWAs to retain them.

Cultural perspective: The organizational societal culture of different countries affects their
response to implementing FWAs. According to Bloom (2014), in developed countries more
than half of the employee work remotely, while in developing country only 20 percent
implement the initiative. Globalization has set the stage in the telecommunication industry
making the industry a global one with increasing competition, Hence the need for the
implementation of FWA in telecommunication industry because of culture erosion.

Single Parenting: This is one parent alone without the other partner’s support meaning that this
is the only parent to the child and is responsible for emotional, material and emotional needs,
Hence the need for flexible work arrangements so that the single parent employee can have time
for home and work.
4. THEORETICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR FWAS
4.1. Work/Family Border Theory
This theory was propounded by (Clark, 2001). This theory is based on the assumption of border
permeability and flexibility. Border permeability happens when elements from one domain
cross the border that divides the work and family domains. This permeability covers
psychological, physical or spatial and temporal borders in explaining the moral and ethical
spheres between work and family. The psychological border is when there is excess from one
domain to another while the physical borders comprise the doors and walls that defines work
and home and finally, the temporal borders include time policies such as hours of work and
personal time. The transformation between home and work is always demanding and is
explained as often involving and ‘shifting gears’ or ‘wearing different hats’. These daily and
spontaneous interactions facilitate the balance between family and work responsibilities.
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Flexibility, on the other hand, shows the degree to which one domain may enlarge to accept
the demands of the other domain. Flexibility explains the softness or malleability of the
boundary between two domains (e.g., the extent to which the role of a professor can
accommodate the demand of the other domain as a parent and vice versa). With work/family
border flexibility, employees have the freedom to select their place and hours of the work
(Clark, 2001). By implications, when employees are faced with conflict between the two
domains, such employees that are border crossers can make use of the different strategies to
deal with this conflict.
The effectiveness of these strategies, is dependent on the degree of border permeable and
flexible between family and work, and the extent of similarity between the two domains.
Borders that allows a low degree of permeability tries to divide the two domains making them
as separate systems (Edwards & Rothbard, 2000). This theory, however, explains that there is
a high level of influence and interconnectedness between the two domains even though the
degree of flexibility and permeability differs (Clark, 2001). When there is flexibility and
permeability of borders, they are well integrated, leading to the interconnectivity between
family and work life.
The explosion of information, communication and technology (ICT) developed and used
by the Telecommunication industry has highly increased the permeability and flexibility of
work-family boundaries. Employees are now accepting flexible work arrangements because of
the accessibility of mobile telecommunication devices, which allows work and family life to
integrate and synchronize. While the tradeoff is that the use of ICTs interferes with employee’s
personal lives, generating excess workloads and work-family conflicts. Telecommuters for
example crosses the border daily and are constantly shifting between the two domains of work
and family. As a result, they are faced with the need to balance the domains of work and family.
4.2. Spill-Over Theory
This theory was propounded by Edwards & Rothbard (2000) based on their assumptions of
affective positive spillover and instrumental spillover. Spillover, is just more than a cause-and
effect coming from one sphere to the other, but how the “activities in one role can benefit
another role” (Radó, Nagy & Király, 2015). Spill over is the transferring of experiences from
one role into another, rendering the roles more alike. Flexibility at work can degrease negative
spillover leading to an increase in the notion of higher work-life balance (Jung Jang, 2012).
Jung Jang (2012) explains that when employees have a flexible schedule it decreases employee
stress in general.
Affective work–family spillover explains that people bring from issues that are work-related
attitudes or moods to home. These attitudes and moods is termed affective spillover; attitude
last long and more stable while mood diffuses more. People experience affective positive
spillover when there is the transfer of positive attitude and moods positive affect from one
sphere to another. While people experience instrumental spillover when there is the transfer of
skills, values and behaviors from one domain to another, values such as accepting and
understanding diversity, skills such as the use of Excel spreadsheets, and behaviors which
includes acting ethically.
5. BENEFITS OF FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENT TO
EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
5.1. Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements to Employers
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Employers in the telecommunication industry introduced flexible work initiatives so that they
can attract, recruit and retain qualified employees into the organisation (Clarke & Holdsworth,
2017). When employees know they can schedule their work, this gives them a sense of support
that the organizations care about his working and non-working life resulting in the following:

Increased Quality Productivity: Al-Rajudi, (2012) elucidated that mothers that are allowed to
take the options of Telecommuting after child delivery or birth recorded decreased turnover and
increased productivity. This increased productivity is directly linked to the presence of familyfriendly policies (Friedman, 2001). Al-Rajudi, (2012), finds out that employees working in
flexible workplaces helps their organizations succeed, they are satisfied with their jobs, and in
mental health for productivity more than the employees without flexible work options.

Increase Employee Loyalty: Flexible work arrangements success is depends on how the
organisation and its employee can work together in partnership. When employers give greater
flexibility in the work place they give employee the option of flexible work to have greater
control of where and where to work, allowing them to enjoy a high optimum excellence of life.
This makes loyal employees that will be satisfied with their jobs.

Enhanced Access to Employment: The introduction of flexible work arrangements has enhanced
the equality and greater opportunity for women to join irrespective of their marital status and
even form a large part of the workforce in a telecommunication industry that was formerly male
dominated (Humphreys, Fleming & O’Donnell, 2000).

Reduced Absenteeism and Turnover: Flexible work arrangements in organization generate
performance benefits for firms by enhancing recruitment as lots of people wants to work because
of the FWAs accompanied with a good pay in the industry reducing absenteeism and turnover
(Hyland, 2000).

Meeting Customer Needs: Flexibility provides the opportunities for organizations to meet the
challenges in the global environment that is increasing on the daily basis by providing business
continuity with wide customer coverage. In telecommunication industry, employees are
provided with the opportunity to operate across time zones and locations thereby enhancing
access to new markets.
5.2. Benefits of Flexible Work Arrangements to the Employees
Essentially one of the major reasons organisations introduces flexible work option is to help
reduce work-family conflict by permitting them to have greater control over their work
schedule. These are the following explanations to the benefits of flexible work arrangements to
employees in the telecommunication industry. Employees on part time have higher life
satisfaction and lower work-family conflict.

Increased Energy and Creativity: Energy is defined as the ability to work, while organizational
energy as within individual and psychological in nature. Flexible work arrangements produce
the energy in employees in the telecommunication industry leading to the ability to go beyond
the given task enhancing creativity.

Prevent Work-Family Conflict: Flexible work arrangements helps to balance employee work
and family tasks. Employees with flexible work options has less work- family conflict than
employees working with the traditional work arrangements. Flexible work arrangements help
to reduce the hours’ employers use at work which results into lower levels of work-family
conflict. Employees do engage in job sharing, part-time work, to maintain a balance between
home and work, such employee achieve more fulfillment and satisfaction (Hinz, 2011).

More Senior Women: flexibly work arrangement has helped working mothers in particular and
employees that are returning from maternity leave, and this has often lead to increase in women
that has reached most senior levels in the organisation (Cooker, 2012).
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
Reduced Business Travel: Flexible working arrangements has a positive effect on business
travel, leading to reductions in carbon emissions and operational costs. Consequently, flexible
working arrangements reduced employees pressure on travel as telecommunication issues can
be detected and solved using the computers (Cooker, 2012).
6. COMPETING CHALLENGES AND CONSEQUENCES OF FLEXIBLE
WORK ARRANGEMENTS
6.1. Employers’ Perspectives

Resistance to Change: When employers have a positive perception of flexible work arrangement
policies they respond positively to employees request to it unlike when they have a negative
perception of these policies. Employers may resist the change because of the challenges it brings
along with it such as increased cost of training and also difficulties in managing flexible
workforce. Change is inevitable and could be resisted especially where change is initiated by
the employees, employers may not really perceive their benefits to the employee at the moment
and they may be thinking those difficulties and challenges.

Lack of trust: In the flexible work arrangements, managers exhibit lack of trust in their
employees. This may arise as a result of previous negative experiences. Managers do not trust
their employees or group members to work productively and efficiently, especially when not
being closely supervised (Brown, Smith, Arduengo & Taylor, 2016).

Financial Difficulties: Most of the time employers look at the financial implication as the main
cause for not implementing flexible work arrangements, although this is because the benefits
have not be taken seriously into consideration. Telecommuting used in the telecommunication
industry for example relies on the availability of technology and its costly.

Organizational Culture: organizational culture is a mobilizing force institutioning employers
view and the implementation of the available flexible work arrangements. However, some of
the telecommunications organizations do not act very excited in implementing these
arrangements because it has not been incorporated into their culture.

Loss of control: Managers feel that they are unable to control the subordinates as they normally
would in the traditional work arrangement. Managers in the telecommunication industry in
Nigeria may resist flexible work arrangements because of day to day loss of control
accompanied with FWAs (Society for Human Resources Management, 2008).
6.2. Employees’ Perspectives

Lack of Guidance and Support: Once those flexible working arrangements are embraced and
accepted by management, the next thing is to provide support to the individual employee. Hence
without proper support and guidance it will be difficult for employee to adjust to the new ways.
Flexible working often times when there is inadequate guidance and support from the
management of the telecommunication industry leads to isolation and reduced visibility, of
employees which at the long run affects productivity and career progression (Cooker, 2012).

Personal Beliefs and Attributes: Employee’s believes that their physical communication and
visibility with their bosses is an imperative factor for their personal growth and these
arrangements may adversely affect other work outcomes. The reasoning is that managers can
acknowledge employee tasks and contribution, and give feedback faster (Huinink, 2012).
Employee perception regarding these initiatives also includes variables such as workaholism,
procrastination, likeability of teamwork and household distractions which is in high prevalence
in the telecommunication industry.
7. DEVELOPMENT OF FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS BASEDMODEL FOR EXPANSION OF FUTURE THEORIES
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Flexible work arrangements are one of the varieties of work strategies that adjusts the time and
pace work gets done on a regular basis. These arrangements are largely used by employers to
increase work life balance, thereby reducing work-life conflict of employees. Several theories
have been used to explain this concept and few of which are work/family border theory and
spill over theory. Work/family border explains flexible arrangements using the assumptions of
the degree of flexibility and permeability while spill over theory explains these arrangements
using the affective positive spillover and instrumental spillover assumptions. These theories
gave a great explanation of the concept but conspicuously ignored some influencing factors for
the implementation of FWAs. These factors include: cultural traits (i.e. technology, Ideology,
custom, values and beliefs) of the domain of work and life; the leadership constructs and work
attitude of employee. This has become the basis for developing a model or conceptual
framework for the development of future theories on FWAs as shown in Figure 1.
Effects
Employees
Flexible Work
Arrangements:
Formal Policies
(Telecommuting,
shift work)
Antecedents:
o
o
o
o
o
o
Commuting
Demographic
Trend
Technology
Innovations
Dual Households
Single-Parenting
Cultural Trend
1.Life/Personal
Satisfaction
Home
2.Organizational
Fulfilment
Informal
Support Policies
(Managerial
support)
3.Societal/
Social Order
Organization
Influencing Factors:
Cultural traits: (technology, ideology,
customs, values and belief.
Leadership and Work Attitudes
Source: Developed by the Researcher
In the light of the conceptual framework above, the influencing factors are explained below:
Cultural Traits
A culture trait is a learned system of beliefs, traditions, symbols, values, and meanings
that are passed from one generation to another. This trait stresses the importance and the
understanding of right and wrong. Extant literature has indicated that shared values have a great
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influence on the people’s understanding of right and wrong; how they dress, behave and
perform their jobs; number of hours/days to spend at work and home (Golden, 2010).
Technology
Technology has the capacity to improve work-life balance of employees but could at the same
time lead to work-life conflict if not properly managed (Felstead & Henseke, 2017).
Technology is constantly used at work and home domain while the aspect of technology leading
to work life conflict has been greatly ignored in border theory despite the fact that technology
has distorted the partition between work and home domains. This has unintentionally
lengthened the working hours of employees’ and has also indirectly affected family
relationships, general health and well-being.
Ideology
Ideology is a gathering of beliefs, ideas that is shared by the people in an organization. Ideology
is the connection of ideas, thought pattern, or a world-view. Ideologies are mainly categorized
into two main types: epistemological and political ideologies. Political ideologies are the sets
of ethical ideas that describes how the organization should be operated. Epistemological
ideologies are ideas about how employees make decision and the universe. In organizations
there is contrast between the ideology of everyday life. Organizations emphasizes more on how
to accomplish tasks as steps towards a larger goal tied to individual’s core values more than
how everyday tasks are accomplished efficiently (Akanji, 2013).
Leadership Constructs
Leaders helps people and create direction by inspiring each other to do the right thing. Leaders
are known for creating inspiring vision, and then inspire, encourage and motivate others to
reach that vision. The implementation of FWAs in any society can largely be influenced by lack
of support from top management and direct supervisors. Other obstacles include the failure to
adapt the workload to reduced working hours, unclear rules given by leaders to the workforce
as regards flexible work arrangement (Falola, et al., 2016).
Work Attitudes
Work attitude is the evaluations of one's job that add up to one's beliefs, attachment, and feeling
about the job. Generally, work attitude can be conceptualized: in two ways affective and
composite. Affective job satisfaction constitutes a general subjective feeling about a job while
the composite explains the objective cognitive assessments of specific job elements, such as the
oppurtunities, pay, conditisons and several other aspects of a particular job (Bloom, Liang,
Roberts & Ying, 2014). Employees tend to evaluate their career growth opportunities by
examining their job, and their continuity of the employer(s).
8. CONCLUSION AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS
Flexible work arrangements help to achieve higher flexibility in the workplace, the scheduling
of the number of hours worked. These arrangements help employees to have greater control
ove when and where work gets done and over how much time they choose to work, leading to
higher chances for employees to enjoy a balance between work and life responsibilities. With
the technology revolution and dual career couples, it is natural that such the practices of flexible
work arrangement be adopted in the telecommunication industry, as they would go a great
length towards improving the quality of life of employee and enhancing productivity of the
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organisations. Also economic downturn, global competition, multigenerational workforce,
demand for skilled workers are leading to change in the workplace. Some of these changes
continue to affect when, where and how work gets done. Increased productivity and decreased
absenteeism are compelling reasons for flexible work arrangements. These programs will
continue to increase in popularity, as many employees and organisations continue to see the
benefits of flexible work arrangements.
9. MANAGERIAL AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

The policies of the organization should be directed to ensure that managers promote effective
communication to minimize the difficulties in managing flexible workers.

The policies should also ensure an enabling culture which is one of the most important factors
for successful flexible working which benefits both the employee and the organization and
without which flexible working arrangement is not likely to yield lasting benefits for the
employee or the employer.

Leave policies should constantly be reviewed by government/employers because of the
changing needs of individuals to balance their work and family for increased productivity.

Management of the organisation should consistently consider several influencing factors that
can impede successful implementation and outcomes of FWAs
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Falola Hezekiah
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