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The Redesigning and Redefining Work Summit (RRW) is an INVITATION ONLY summit at Stanford University to present new and innovative research and generate dialog among diverse perspectives to create a new platform for the design and definition of work for the twenty-first century.  The RRW Summit will bring together one hundred and fifty top academic researchers, corporate leaders, policy makers, and media representatives to set a research-based agenda for redesigning work.
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Friday, November 8 • 9:25am - 9:45am
Susan J. Lambert, University of Chicago

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The business case of implementing employee-friendly alternative work arrangements in low-level jobs: Hope or lost cause? 

Although problems with worker performance abound when job quality is low, in low-level, hourly job, many of today’s employers have severed the link between worker performance and firm profitability, undermining the ‘business case’ for alternative work arrangements that benefit employees, not just the employer.  Because labor costs in hourly jobs are mostly variable, not fixed, employers have an incentive to minimize the use of labor, placing workers at risk of underemployment, unpredictable schedules, and turnover. Variation in work hours is experienced as instability, not flexibility. I consider two strategies to increase incentives for employers to improve the quality of low-level jobs by increasing the fixed costs of labor: requiring employers to guarantee employees a minimum number of hours and to offer the same benefits to all firm employees. Increasing fixed costs could provide the nudge employers need to manage rather than minimize, or externalize, the costs of labor in low-level jobs, In turn providing workers with greater stability, predictability, and meaningful flexibility. 

avatar for Susan J. Lambert

Susan J. Lambert

Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
Susan J. Lambert is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Over the past twenty years, Lambert has conducted a series of studies on employer practices and employment conditions in low-level, hourly jobs with the goal of identifying ways to improve workers’ economic security and ability to fulfill caregiving responsibilities. | | The sites for Lambert’s research span both... Read More →

Friday November 8, 2013 9:25am - 9:45am
McCaw Hall, Stanford Alumni Center 326 Galvez Street, Stanford