The rhetorics of ‘agile’ and the practices of ‘agile working’: Consequences for the worker experience and uncertain implications for HR practice

Journal article


Roper, I., Prouska, R. and Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, U. (2022). The rhetorics of ‘agile’ and the practices of ‘agile working’: Consequences for the worker experience and uncertain implications for HR practice. The International Journal of Human Resource Management.
AuthorsRoper, I., Prouska, R. and Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, U.
Abstract

The various rhetorics of ‘agile’, ‘agility’, and ‘agile working’ (AW) set an agenda for new ways of working and have gained traction in popular management discourse recently, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet conceptually, these varieties are underdeveloped in the academic literature. In this article we examine the stream of AW by first locating separate
streams and rhetorics of ‘agile’ in the literature, each seemingly unaware of each other, and then situating AW within this typology to show its distinctiveness from other streams of ‘agile’. To understand a particular version of reality being mainstreamed by the AW rhetoric, we then examine its conceptualisation as a new way of working, as promoted by dominant actors within the UK work context. We then consider existing studies of worker experiences under different employment arrangements that can be subsumed under the heading of ‘AW practices’. Our analysis highlights voids between what may be considered as mainstream HR practices when applied to standard employees compared to a spectrum of ‘non-standard’ workers. The implications for the role of HR in the implementation of AW and in managing the worker experience are discussed and future avenues for this under-researched area are offered.

KeywordsAW, temporary workers, fixed-term workers, agency workers, zero-hours workers, freelancers, HRM
Year2022
JournalThe International Journal of Human Resource Management
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0958-5192
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Apr 2022
Deposited12 Apr 2022
Accepted author manuscript
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File Access Level
Open
Additional information

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Human Resource Management on [date of publication], available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/

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