טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentItzhakian Ohad
SubjectWorkers' Preferences for Work-Family Flexibility: Dual
Earners Parents, Hi-Tech Workers in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Dr. Baruch Shimoni
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The dynamic organizational environment burdens the worker more than ever. More and more workers feel that they can't balance work and family, and the family is affected. In the long run, this hurts both workers and organizations, in terms of decline in productivity and high turn-over rate.

The standard full time job that dictates working in an office in regular hours isn't always suitable for workers’ needs, and many times negatively affects their ability to fulfill home duties, especially childcare. For that reason workers demand more flexibility at work, such as more flexible work hours and the possibility to work from home.

Different organizations around the world started using flexible work arrangements as a strategic tool for attracting, retaining and motivating workers in the competitive work environment. Studies show that these solutions have positive impact on different organizational parameters.

The purpose of this study is to examine preferences for work-family flexibility of workers in the high-tech industry. The study tries to answer two questions: a] what are the workers’ flexibility preferences; b] what are the reasons for these preferences. 15 men and women of various high-tech jobs were interviewed. Participants were dual-earners parents. Analysis of the data was done in four stages of categorization and identification of major themes.

Findings have raised claims against the current satisfaction in the high-tech industry, especially about the working hours, the stress and the restrictive regulations that prevent flexibility, and damage to family life. Repetitive claims were heard about high workload, especially among workers who work with organizations abroad. The findings also showed differences in the employees' preferences for specific flexibility solutions.

The preferences were more homogeneous in favor of general solutions, such as flexible hours and flexible locations. Moreover, it was found that there is a variety of personal considerations that affect the subjects' preferences. Two major problems were mentioned in regard to the flexibility: the utilization of strict full-time jobs; and the organizations’ fear from making a precedent by allowing a certain worker more flexible conditions.

The research concludes with several recommendations for organizations such as adjusting proper flexibility solutions, and easing on workers who work with organizations abroad. The research has practical value for high-tech organizations by facilitating a better understanding of the employees' needs and wishes, enabling flexible solutions to be arranged.  It is also a base for further research in Israel on employees' preferences for flexibility in their work.