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Since past few decades significance efforts have been made to improve the workers efficiency and effectiveness and in order to achieve this jobs structure have been made flexible. Some people have regret the loss of regular working pattern and the others are enjoying and taking the advantage of the flexible working hours (Prospect; 2008). The flexible working pattern has become very popular in many organisations and has contributed a lot in the employee's life style in positive way.
The aim of the research is to find the role of flexible working hours in employees motivation. The organisation chosen to conduct the research is McDonald's UK Corporation. McDonalds is fast food service retailing chain of 30,000 restaurants famous for burgers and chips and is operating in 119 countries globally. Most of the restaurants are franchised. The company also operates under the name of 'The Boston market' in US and has head quarters in US Oak Brook and employees more than 450,000 employees. The company had turnover of more than 20,000 million USD in 2009. (Data Monitor 2009)
1.2.1 McDonald's Employees
In UK, McDonalds employs more than 50,000 people (not including franchisees' staff) of which 57% staffs are male and 43% of staff is female and 66% of the hourly paid staff is aged between 16 and 20 years and 90% of staff are work for about 35 hours per week. Training of the staff is compulsory prior to start the job and is considered of great importance in the development of the employees. Flexible working practices give this opportunity to staff to fulfil their commitments with the family or education. Most of the managers in McDonald have started as hourly-paid and half of the company's middle and senior managers moved up from restaurant based positions.
2.1 RESEARCH AIM
The aim of the research is to identify the role of flexible working in the employee's motivation. The research has following objectives and questions.
To evaluate the role of flexible working times in employee loyalty and satisfaction.
To analyze the effect of flexible working on employees motivation and performance.
To examine the benefits and limitations of adopting flexible working within the company
To explore the flexible working practices currently followed by McDonald's
To suggest recommendations to McDonalds to improve the flexible working arrangements to enhance the employees performance.
The proposed research questions are:
What does 'flexible working' means?
How flexible working is being practiced in McDonald's?
How McDonald's can improve retention rate through FWP?
What have been the benefits and limitations of adopting the flexible working practices for McDonald's?
Literature review provides the foundation of the research on which result is built (Saunders; 2007). Theoretical concept and models described by the Harvard Framework of HRM and concept of Flexibility, Employee Loyalty, Cultural issues and Employee Retention will be reviewed in the literature study.
Guest's Theory of HRM
Guest describes policies in strategic integration which ensure human resource management is integrated: first employees commitment to improve their performance through their behaviour, second flexibility ensuring flexible organization structure, third high quality service because of flexible working hours (Guest;1989). The concept of human resource management is to approach best practices which are acceptable universally. (Torrington: 2008)
'Flexibility' the term is being used in wide range of forms in organizations. For example 'internal flexibility' shift of workers between different departments in an organization to benefit from their multi-skills. As an 'external flexibility' hiring or subcontracting employees as per requirement. (Huws; 1999)
A research of 3500 American workers investigates the relationship among work and life policies, informal support and employee loyalty over the life course. Flexible working practices have consistent and positive effects on the employee's loyalty. (SpringerLink; 2004)
Theories of Flexible Working
Culture has deep effect on individuals and organizations in their life. Four types of cultural styles which are individual Culture (people work for themselves to live with basic needs or luxuries), Task Culture, Role Culture (Clearly defined roles are set out within a hierarchical structure) and Club Culture (Like-minded people loosely grouped around a charismatic leader). He describes the flexible working in the context of the cultural values of the individuals and organizations. (Handy; 1988)
Pinfield and Atkinson (1998) present four approaches to increase employment flexibility to achieve competitive advantage. These are as follows:
1. Time flexibility.
2. Functional flexibility.
3. Distancing flexibility
4. Financial or Pay flexibility.
The Flexible Firm
A model for flexible firm in which it is divides its labour force into a core of permanent workers performing the key task and temporary workers to complete daily tasks. The temporary staffs protect the core group from change in demand in the labour market and reduce the labour cost and promote flexibility in the organisation. (Atkinson and Meager, 1986; Pollert, 1988; Hakim, 1987)
Flexible working arrangements can play a valuable role in organizational performance Flexible working is beneficial in the interest of both employees and employers. Adopting the flexible working practices has identified significant reduction in staff sickness, absence, and turnover levels, employee's retention, motivation. On the organization side it has enhanced the organization overall image. Employees can also choose their work-patterns to make a work-life balance. (CIPD; 2008)
Employers can retain their staff most effectively. This retention is not because of the high payment but the highest level of reward by offering them other benefits such as flexible working hours. He says that employees can be retained if the organization offers job security, flexible working arrangements and career development opportunities (Taylor; 2002).
There are three approaches to research methodology
Data collection methods
There are two types of approaches; deductive and inductive. In deductive approach the researcher tests and proves or disproves number of propositions and in the inductive approach the researcher would collect data and develop a theory as a result of analyzing the data. The approach for my study is both deductive and inductive.
The most commonly research strategies used are collecting data from number of organizations or a large group of respondents in order to explore the issues largely in the present to develop a theory or a case study to explore the issues both at present and in the past of an organization to proof the point and propose recommendations. I will be surveying one organization and will bring the facts of the past and present to light in the context of flexible working hours. (Jankowicz;1995)
SECONDARY DATA COLLECTION
Secondary data analysis is the analysis of data collected by another researcher or organization in order to discuss or explore an issue (Hakim; 1989). Secondary data can helps to define the research problems and can develop an approach, it is easy and quicker to access mostly through university's library facilities as this data already been collected and published. This data can be collected in short space of time and it is cost effective. For this research work I will be using the journals, books, library resources and online databases such as Ebsco to collect the data.
4.1.2 PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION
Primary data is normally regarded as being data which is collected by the original researcher who is using the data for further investigation (Oliver; 2002 p.14). In this research, I am intending to collect the data from both questionnaires and interviews to obtain the information about the employee's attitude, behaviour and opinion about McDonald's and also the impact of flexible working practices within McDonald's. For this research it is appropriate to use both techniques for data collection.
'Qualitative data refers to all non-numeric data or data that have not been quantified and can be a product of all research strategies. It can range from a short list of responses to open-ended questions and in-depth interviews' (Saunders; 2007). In this research qualitative data will be collected by conducting interviews of the managers and the workers at McDonald. Five to seven people will be interviewed and they will be situational and snow balling technique will be practiced.
In this research, I will use the questionnaire in order to collect the primary data. I will use structured questionnaire in which each person is asked to respond to the same set of questions in a predetermined order. The structured questionnaire will be given to the employees working at McDonald's to get their point of view on how the company's flexible working is affecting their life style and performance. The questionnaires will give to 40-50 people in McDonald. They will not require replying immediately. However, discrete and careful monitoring will be carry out to make sure that the respondent answers all the questions.
To analyze the qualitative data power computer software (CADAS) like NVivo ATLAS will be used. These are easy available in the market and in some universities as well. It is no longer necessary to undertake routine qualitative data management tasks manually such as sorting the data into categories and location subsets of these data according to specified criteria. (Saunders; 2007)
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Since flexible working motivates and improves performance of the employees, all the organisations are adopting flexible working system. All organisations are being encouraged by the UK Government to adopt flexible working practices due to many advantages which include cross culture diversity, reduce absenteeism and high turnover. As the research is being conducted in the UK and flexible working practices can differ across the branches in different localities in the UK. The future research could be carried to find out to what extent the other branches of the organisations is practicing the flexible working system.
ETHICAL ISSUES, CONSENT AND ACCESS
Ethical considerations are crucial in the data collection and handling process (Saunders et al; 2007). I will make sure that I abide by all the ethical rules and regulations while carrying out my research work. I will make sure that my interviewees know the purpose of the research and all the data will be kept confidential. One of the branches of McDonald's has already been informed. Researcher will also make sure the responses of the respondent are kept confidential and do not get in the hands of any other unauthorized person. The research will seeks to be fair, consistent and accurate in all aspects.
Gant chart of the planning