Flexible work and leadership: Rethinking public service delivery

Project: Research-related funding

Project Details


The purpose of this exploratory project is to develop a new research programme on flexible work arrangements, and in particular, job crafting in the public sector in Finland. Job crafting refers to informal ways through which employees craft the elements of their jobs including task, relational and cognitive components of their jobs (Grant and Parker, 2009). This type of bottom-up redesigning has become prevalent in contemporary organisations (Laurence, 2010) and has received increasing scholarly attention in recent research (Rofcanin et al., 2018; Rudolph et al., 2017). Despite the increasing importance of job crafting, a focus on this research has been mainly limited to the context of the USA and in private sector settings (Wang et al., 2016). It is also important to expand the scope of work arrangement research beyond policy development and the effects of gender, age and caring responsibilities of workers. From a holistic perspective, it must provide an understanding of worker experiences in positions of influence (influencing other people by providing social/public service). The project also attempts to include a focus on leadership in the delivery of public service and moves beyond notions of good governance, leader efficiency and transparency to redefine public leadership in terms of purposeful job/role crafting. Therefore, the main purpose of this research is, in a novel way, to integrate and explore the construct of job crafting in a non-USA context and in the public sector. As such, this research is intended to discuss and delineate the three components of job crafting, cognitive, task and relational job crafting (Wrzesniewski and Dutton, 2001) in the public sector in Finland.

Key findings

The expected outcomes of this exploratory research include robust empirical data on job crafting and dispersed leadership among front-line public service provider. These data will enable the research team to examine job-crafting in the completely new setting of public service provision (thus far job-crafting research has focused on the USA setting and in sample contexts including corporations in knowledge-intensive industries (Rudolph et al., 2017)). We expand this body of research by focusing on a new kind of employees, frontline public service staff (Wang et al., 2016). This study marks a move outside the mainstream research on work arrangements and job crafting that focuses on employee well-being, work involvement and task fulfilment. The study should enable public sector organisations to facilitate and streamline roles that motivate and encourage role leadership and job champions. In addition, the time spent at the fieldsite will allow the research team to develop contacts in the various public organisations that are involved with Ohjaamo and, potentially, similar units in other cities in Finland.
Short title£4170.40
Effective start/end date1/01/1931/07/19

Collaborative partners


  • job crafting
  • exploratory
  • work redesigns
  • new ways of work
  • flexible work practices


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