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2013/2014  KAN-CM_B145  Managing Flexible Workers in Creative and Knowledge Intensive Fields

English Title
Managing Flexible Workers in Creative and Knowledge Intensive Fields

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Spring
Changes in course schedule may occur
Wednesday 13.30-16.05, week 15 -.22
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Peter Kjær - Department of Organization (IOA)
Course Responsible : Elena Raviola er.ioa@cbs.dk
Secretary : Mette Busk Ellekrog mbe.ioa@cbs.dk.
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Experience economy and service management
  • Organization
  • Economic and organizational sociology
Last updated on 12-07-2013
Learning objectives
The student will acquire general knowledge and insights into issues concerning managing flexible staffing arrangements, and their particular organizing forms, and management challenges. The student will also acquire specific knowledge in one or more organizational form or industry. The exam for the course will focus on a combination of general insights and deep specialist knowledge. More specific goals are:
  • To describe how the use of flexible staffing arrangements has developed, in which contexts and why;
  • To discuss the concept of flexibility and the array of ways it is manifested in different organizational fields, including its positive and negative aspects;
  • To discuss specific challenges for managing organizations using flexible staffing arrangements, illustrate them with examples, and create specific strategies for them;
  • To explore in practice and analyze how flexible workers work and develop their career, how their community is organized in more or less formal ways, and how intermediaries of flexible work operate;
  • To reflect on what effects on individuals, professions, organizations, and broader societal systems the use of flexible staffing arrangements has.
Course prerequisites
No prerequesites
Oral exam based on written product:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 5 students in the group
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
This course focuses on the challenges, benefits, and dilemmas of using various forms of flexible staffing arrangements. Flexible contract or similar form of work are frequently found in project organization, freelance work, and ‘talent on demand’ systems, as well as organizations that use consultants and temporary or part-time workers or external labor markets to high degrees, and the practitioner of so-called boundaryless or portfolio careers. A lot of these forms are applied in knowledge intensive and creative sectors, where highly-educated workers cannot or do not want to be permanently hired. The course will focuse on these creative sectors, analyzing their characteristics, as well as the types of organizations and occupations that are involved in flexible work arrangements and why.

Different issues of flexible work will then be approached. First of all, we will look at the work practices of flexible workers and their skill and competence development needs. We will look at the individual level of the worker, in terms of getting job, managing his/her worklife, and career. A lot of these highly educated creative flexible workers are primarily interested in their work, but they end up managing their own enterprise, that is to say becoming entrepreneurs, and working on a project base. We will thus also look at the entrepreneurial abilities that flexible workers need to have developed in order to provide themselves with jobs and assignments. Secondly, we will look at how they organize themselves as a professional community. For all freelancers of different kinds, managing their work often means that they are ongoingly involved in creating and maintaining networks of various kinds that can help them get access to commissions and professional training, as well as help them create new job opportunities in collaboration with other workers. Such networks also serve functions similar to traditional unions, in terms of professional and legal support and training. Thirdly, we will look the emergence of intermediaries of flexible work have emerged, such as creative hubs, temporary work agencies and matchmaking websites, which offer structured and formal ways of matching both flexible workers and established organizations together. We will also briefly look at the commissioning organizations and at the consequences for them of having to buy services from freelancers.
The students will be involved in a mini-project in which they will closely follow a freelancer in a creative sector, or study some organizing form of a professional freelancing community, or study a commissioning organization or an intermediary of flexible work. If they are freelancers, they will also have the possibility to match with non-freelancing students and write a project on their own work as freelancers.
The course is designed to appeal to students who intend to work flexibly themselves (as consultants, freelancers, self-employed) and aspire to understand the labor markets and organizational context they will confront as well as persons who intend to work for companies and organizations that use flexible staffing arrangements to a significant extent.
Teaching methods
A combination of lectures, cases, and small group exercizes will be used.
Expected literature
Indicative literature:
Amuedo-Dorantes, C., and Kimmel, J. (2005) Moonlighting Behavior over the Business Cycle Bonn: IZA Discussion Paper no. 1671.
Arthur, M. B. and Rousseau, D. (1995) The Boundaryless Career New York: Oxford University Press.
Barley, S. & G. Kunda (2004) Gurus, Hired Guns and Warm Bodies: Itinerant experts in a knowledge economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Cappelli, P. (2008) Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Cappelli, P. (2009) ‘A Supply Chain Model for Talent Management’ People & Strategy 32 4-7.
Dal Fiore, F. (2007) ‘Communities versus Networks: The Implications on Innovation and Social Change’ American Behavioral Scientist 50 857-866.
De Laurentis, C. (2006) ‘Regional Innovation Systems and the Labour Market: A Comparison of Five Regions’ European Planning Studies 14 1059-1084.
Doogan, K. (2010) New Capitalism? The transformation of work. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Kalleberg, A. (2000) ‘Non-Standard Employment Relations: Part-time, Temporary, and Contract Work’ Annual Review of Sociology 26 341-365.
Kelly, E. and Kalev, A. (2006) ‘Managing Flexible Work Arrangements in US Organizations: Formalized Discretion or ‘a right to ask’ Socio-Economic Review 4 379-416.
King, Z. (2004) ‘Career Self-Management: Its Nature, Causes and Consequences’ Journal of Vocational Behavior 65 112-133.
Koene, B. and van Riemsdijk (2005) ‘Managing Temporary Workers: Work Identity, Diversity, and Operational HR Choices’ Human Resource Management Journal 15 76-92.
Korpi, T. and Levin, H. (2001) ‘Precarious Footing: Temporary Employment as a Stepping Stone Out of Unemployment in Sweden’ Work, Employment and Society 15 127-148.
Lichtenstein, B. and Mendenhall, M. (2002) ‘Non-linearity and Response-ability: Emergent Order in 21st Century Careers’, Human Relations 55, 5-32.
Mallon, M. (1998) ‘The Portfolio Career: Pushed or Pulled to it?’, Personnel Review 27 361-377.
Marler, J., Barringer, M.W., and Milkovich, G.T. (2002) ‘Boundaryless and Traditional Contingent Employees: Worlds Apart’ Journal of Organizational Behavior 23 425-453.
Mathieu, C. (2012) Careers in Creative Industries. New York: Routledge.
Michie, J. and Sheehan, M. (2003) ‘Labour Market Deregulation, ‘Flexibility’ and Innovation’ Cambridge Journal of Economics 27 123-143.
Michie, J. & Sheehan, M. (2003) ‘Labour ‘flexibility’ – securing management’s right to manage badly?’ in Systems of Production: markets, organisations and performance. Edited by Brendon Burchell, Simon Deakin, Jonathan Michie & Jill Rubery. London: Routledge.
Michie, J. and Sheehan, M. (2005) ‘Business Strategy, Human Resources, Labour Market Flexibility and Competitive Advantage’ International Journal of Human Resource Management 16 445-464.
Deuze, M. (2010) Managing Media Work. Sage Publications
Last updated on 12-07-2013