Baines & Gelder - Self Employment Work Styles

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

A structure of concern model arises in the data gathered by Baines and Gelder (2003) in their study of self-employed parents. They studied 30 home-based businesses across 8 occupational sectors in the UK to assess if home-based work is more family-friendly than traditional office work. A fourfold typology of home business behavior emerged from their research:

P – “Time-greedy” Often male-led, these home businesses drained the time, energy and the emotions of the owners and their families. Evenings, weekends and holidays were often compromised in unpredictable ways, and family members were drawn into business activities on an ad hoc basis. It’s a short-cycle, extemporaneous style of working.

A – “Rigidly scheduled” Often based in premises separate from the home, these businesses offered schedules by appointment or small order (e.g. hairstyling, catering). The timing requirements and spatial specificity of these forms of self employment give them a similar impact on the family as full-time employment would. Structure is imposed by the situation.

E – “Flexibly scheduled” These jobs involved individuals offering services that could be integrated into their daily domestic schedules, such as healing services or piecework. Appointments could be scheduled during non-parenting hours, or childcare obtained as needed to receive clients. Thus, the entrepreneurial activities to improve the business owners’ situations had to be juggled with more immediately pressing short-cycle activities.

I – “Work-family inclusive” The inclusive businesses were more traditional “family-owned” business, with all family members playing specific roles in the enterprise. Business premises were usually inside or attached to the home. Examples include family-run daycare centers, boarding kennels, convenience stores and small online retailers. Family and work tradeoffs are resolved by integrating the two structures.

1. Baines, S., & Gelder, U. (2003). “What is family friendly about the workplace in the home? The case of self-employed parents and their children.” New Technology, Work and Employment, 18(3), 223-234.
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