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

Roper, Ian and Prouska, Rea and Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Uracha (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. pp. 1-28. ISSN 0958-5192

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Abstract

The various rhetorics of ‘agile’, ‘agility’, and ‘agile working’ (AW) set an agenda for new ways of working and have recently gained traction in popular management discourse, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet conceptually, these rhetorical varieties of ‘agile’ are underdeveloped in the academic literature. In this article we examine the stream of AW as being a particularly influential rhetoric. AW is critically evaluated by first identifying separate streams and rhetorics of ‘agile’ in the literature, and AW is then situated within this typology. To understand the particular version of reality being mainstreamed by the AW rhetoric, we then examine AWs 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 practice 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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agile; temporary workers; fixed-term workers; agency workers; freelancers; HRM; agility; agile working
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2022 14:41
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2022 11:52
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32704

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