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Part-Time Studies Impact on Employee Performance Research Paper


Abstract

The idea behind part-time studies entails looking for effective ways of improving one’s performance by accomplishing advanced tasks accurately and at the required standards. One arm of literature on the effect of part-time work on employees’ performance suggests that a flexible work environment has a positive impact on an organisation’s productivity.

Although such literature does not consider activities undertaken by part-time workers after job, the current research hypothesises that the quest for increased performance drives the need for pursuing part-time studies with the view that employees can increase their knowledge repositories, hence enhancing the demand for their input in their career lines. However, considering the human capital theoretical framework, another hypothesis emerges that engaging in part-time studies reduces the time that is necessary for the accumulation of human capital.

Thus, engaging in part-time work with the objective of securing an opportunity for studies has negative effects on employees’ productivity. To test these hypotheses, data will be collected in the food and service industry. However, due to resource constraints, quantitative and qualitative data will only be collected from McDonald’s food chains, owing to its multinational nature. The research will use a sample size of 385 employees derived from 50 McDonald’s stores and franchises located in California.

Introduction

Part-time work entails an increasingly popular phenomenon across the world. For example, in Germany, Sweden, and the UK, in every four employees, one of them works on a part-time basis while nearly 50% of the total workforce constitutes part-timers in Netherlands (Künn-Nelen, de Grip, & Fouarge, 2013). One realm of literature finds part-time jobs as having positive effects on job satisfaction (Garnero, Kampelmann, & Rycx, 2014). Hence, workers’ productivity (one of the measures of a firm’s performance) increases. The other realm argues that part-time work leads to a reduction in workforce capital, which compromises an organisation’s performance.

The changing environmental dynamics force corporations to integrate flexible work structures into their operations in an attempt to maintain competitiveness. Part-time work is viewed as one of the mechanisms for attaining such flexibility. Organisations adjust their schedules to meet their respective workforce’s preferences, for instance, balancing work and employees’ personal and family lives (Den Dulk, Groeneveld, Ollier-Malaterre, & Valcour, 2013).

Inflexible work environments may increase employees’ decisions to leave an organisation voluntarily. For example, according to Cegarra-Leiva, Sanchez-Vidal, and Cegarra-Navaro (2012), Merrill’s survey conducted in 2005 revealed that 16% of all baby boomers sought part-time jobs. About 42 percent of those studied preferred jobs that allowed time for leisure. In other words, the emerging workforce prefers companies that provide flexible jobs to permit them to take charge of other equally important life aspects such as pursuing further studies (Revels & Morris, 2012).

Since employees’ performance entails an important factor that contributes to organisational productivity and hence profitability, companies risk losing their edge if part-time studies are proved to have negative impacts on workforce performance. This paper proposes a research to determine the effects of part-time studies on employee performance in the food and service industry.

Aims and Objectives

Based on the data collected from McDonald’s, the current study aims at investigating how part-time studies affect employees’ performance in the food and service industry. This aim is important since companies are adopting flexible work structures that allow people to engage in other equally important life activities such as pursuing further education or advancing their careers (Cegarra-Leiva et al., 2012).

The primary objective of the research entails determining whether this trend affects food and service businesses positively or negatively in terms of employees’ performance. The secondary objective is to prescribe recommendations on the appropriateness of the part-time study programmes in companies that operate in the industry.

Rationale for Study

Businesses have different desired outcomes. Hence, a discussion of aspects such as part-time studies, which may affect organisational performance, cannot be accomplished through an examination of performance variables in general organisations. This basis underlines the rationale for limiting the study discussion to a multinational organisation such as McDonald’s. It is crucial to question the logic behind examining the possibility of a link between part-time studies and employees’ performance.

Indeed, companies have responsibilities that range from increasing returns on their investments to availing higher financial resources for CSR initiatives with the goal of meeting their obligations to their owners and stakeholders. Accomplishing these responsibilities only happens following the optimal utilisation of key resources and capabilities, including employees, in enhancing organisational productivity.

Critical Review of Literature

Employees’ performance is critical in enhancing organisations’ productivity. McDonald’s uses people as one of its most important resources and capabilities to deliver value to its clients. In this quest, the organisation ensures that it does not create situations that give rise to employee-work conflicts, which subsequently lead to a high labour turnover (Carlson, 2015). This initiative links well with the existing literature on the impacts of work-life balance on employees’ performance. For example, Cegarra-Leiva et al. (2012) examined whether initiatives of employees’ work-life balance had any direct impact on their retention in an organisation through the stimulation of high work satisfaction in SME settings.

The study recommended the improvement of workers’ satisfaction to increase their retention. This recommendation is essential in establishing the role played by McDonald’s increased focus on ensuring that its workers are contented with their jobs. Such business strategy has led to a substantial increase in the organisation’s performance. However, it may not answer the question of whether part-time studies entail one of the work-life balance initiatives that can enhance employees’ performance in the organisation.

Changes in working conditions force human resources to behave differently, hence resulting in their vocational adjustment with the view of experiencing better work success and/or fulfilment (Carlson, 2015). Hence, if workers fail to respond to any transformations in their work environment, including the need to pursue further career growth through part-time studies, they may be frustrated. This situation may lead to occupational maladjustment (Kramar & Syed, 2012, p. 79).

However, this understanding of workers’ adaptation in responses to internal and external stimuli does not depict the role of part-time studies in enhancing their performance. Nonetheless, Kramar and Syed’s (2012) argument forms an important paradigm for understanding how part-time studies affect staff performance.

There lacks an extensive literature on how part-time studies influence workforce performance. However, it can be analysed from the context of the effect of part-time work on staff performance, a strategy that is founded on the assumption that after working, one can engage in other personal growth activities, including part-time studies. Such an approach yields two strands of theoretical frameworks. The first one analyses how flexible work programmes, including part-time work, influence a firm’s performance. Giannetti and Madia (2013) examine how flexible work structures affect the performance of innovative companies from an Italian context.

The research is restricted to the analysis of the effects of flexible work on employees’ capacity to create innovative goods with reference to the percentage of new commodities sold against yearly total sales. Giannetti and Madia (2013) conclude that part-time work directly contributes to an increased level of workers’ innovation and performance in a firm. Therefore, one can hypothetically argue that part-time studies offer employees an opportunity to acquire new knowledge repositories, which enhance their innovation levels, including their capacity to create original products.

The second line of literature discusses in details the concept of part-time work and its effects on employees’ performance. For example, using Belgian data, Garnero et al. (2014), after differentiating between large part-time and small part-time work, reports that those working for huge part-time add more hourly value to their organisations’ financial performance compared to permanent workers. However, small part-time workers had no significant effects on their companies’ financial performance when compared to full-time employees (Garnero et al., 2014). The research also claims that the gender of the part-time workforce contributes differently to the increased performance.

Künn-Nelen et al. (2013) studied the role of part-time job in enhancing staff performance in the service sector by focusing on the pharmaceutical industry in the Netherlands. The researchers analysed annual sales as the mechanism for measuring financial performance. They also investigated the appropriate optimal working hours for part-timers by differentiating between extensive, standard, and low working hours.

The researchers found that part-time work had a positive statistical significance in terms of increasing the pharmaceutical industry’s annual sales, with medium part-time work having the biggest effect. A critical review of past literature reveals that it has focused mainly on how part-time work contributes to employees’ performance without considering the tasks undertaken after work. Therefore, research on the impact of part-time studies on employees’ performance introduces a new theoretical framework for analysing how part-time work influences employees’ productivity as measured by an organisation’s financial performance.

Research Design and Strategies

Approaches

The current research focuses on testing two the hypotheses with the goal of examining the possible relationships. It investigates the link between part-time studies (independent variable) and employees’ performance (dependent variable). Through a strict procedure (structured interviews), both numerical and non-numerical data will be collected followed by the respective analysis. Hence, the research uses deductive and inductive approaches. Here, the goal entails to not only prescribe a theory on the relationship between part-time studies and employees’ performance in the food and service industry but also establish a pattern of the underlying meanings.

Philosophical Orientation

Depending on the number of hours worked before attending part-time studies and following Garnero et al.’s (2014) approach, this research differentiates three types of part-time study groups, namely, low, standard, and extensive. The Bureau of Labour Statistics (2015) informs that people in America work for an average of roughly 39 hours in a week. This figure is lower relative to the conventional 40 hours of work in a week, which this paper regards as the fulltime working hours in a week.

The current research is founded on the human capital philosophy. Part-time studies reduce the amount of time that a worker spends in the work environment. Hence, such employees have a lower level of human capital accumulation (Erskine, 2012). This research hypothesises (H1) that part-time studies have a negative impact on employees’ performance in the food and service businesses where such schooling deviates from the workers’ line of duty.

The studies lower an employee’s individual productivity and hence the overall organisational performance. Otherwise, it hypothesises (H2) that part-time studies have a positive impact on employees’ performance in the food and service companies if they are in-line with the workers’ line of duty since they give an opportunity for improving their skills in their specific areas of operations.

Research Strategies

Research can adopt qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods (pragmatic approach), or the emancipator approach (participatory or advocacy design) (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2012). The current study will adopt both quantitative and qualitative approaches, otherwise referred to as the mixed methods. This pragmatic approach deploys both quantitative information and numerical data (Saunders et al., 2012). Therefore, this research will deploy the mixed methods strategy

Choices and Time Horizon

All studies consume time and monetary resources. Since such resources are limited in supply, researchers make modifications and choices on how to conduct a study that achieves the intended aim(s) and objective(s) (Saunders et al., 2012). The researcher of the current project chooses to perform the study in the context of a multinational organisation, McDonald’s, but only focusing on its stores in California due to monetary and time constraints. Table 1 shows the time horizons for the study

Table 1: Time Horizons.

Time Activity
Week 1 Review and submit the proposal for approval from McDonald’s stores in California where the research will be conducted
Week 2 Review data analysis software programmes and consult with my instructor to determine the appropriate one for use
Week 3 Consult with the management of the stores to secure an interview opportunity
Week 4 Recruit data analysts
Week 5 Collect data assuming the proposal has been approved
Week 6-7 Analyse data and submit the findings

Population and Sample

Interviewed subjects will be sampled randomly in 50 McDonald’s stores and franchises in California. Quantitative research will begin with the selection of a sample size or the number of research subjects. The sample size will vary according to the expected statistical confidence levels (Saunders et al., 2012). When selecting the subjects of the study, sample parameters, for instance, confidence interval or error margin, the size of the studied population, the expected confidence level, and the Standard Deviation (SD) must be known.

In this research, the total number of employees or the population of the 50 stores and franchises may be important. Although this data may be obtained from the respective stores’ human resource departments, it is not necessary. In most studies, the population is commonly unknown (Saunders et al., 2012). The only important thing is to determine the most appropriate demographic group for the study. This group constitutes McDonald’s partial workers who engage in part-time studies. Full-time workers will also be recruited as a control group. After determining the target group for the research, establishing the confidence interval for the research will follow.

Perfect samples do not exist in any research (Saunders et al., 2012). This awareness underlines the importance of setting limits on the permissible error or the confidence level. The current research uses a standard value of +/-5. This range means the study will deploy the 95% confidence interval. It also uses an SD value of 0.5. Different confidence levels correspond to dissimilar Z-score figures. A 95% confidence level corresponds to a Z-score value of 1.96. This value makes it possible to compute the sample size using the equation:

Equation

Substituting the chosen values in the equation yields a sample size of 385.

Data Types and Sources

The current research focuses on how employers and employees interpret the issue of part-time jobs and/or studies with reference to how partial working dictates organisations’ work output and consequently their ability to make more sales. Hence, the current study begins by selecting a sample size that yields powerful qualitative and quantitative information for making the appropriate recommendations on the effects of part-time studies on workers’ performance in the food and service industry. In other words, the research uses non-numerical and numerical data types from a primary source. The primary source is based on McDonald’s employees working in stores and franchises in California.

To qualify for inclusion in the study, such employees should have been successfully recruited through random sampling and/or accepted to participate in the project by signing consent forms. They should fall into one of the four groups: permanent, extensive, standard, or low part-time employees. Apart from being full-time workers, the other three groups should also be participating in part-time studies.

Data Collection Techniques

Structured interviews encompass the data collection technique. The researcher will explain to the respondents the study purpose and its significance. Each respondent will be required to sign a consent form before taking an interview that will last for a maximum of 20 minutes. The interview will begin by capturing the respondent’s demographic information such as educational background, age, and gender.

Questions will also be administered to collect information on the respondents’ experiences with the issue of combining part-time work and part-time studies at McDonald’s. They will also respond to the question of whether they had been recording increasing sales over time. If yes, they will comment on whether their part-time studies provided the necessary knowledge to enhance their selling abilities or contribution to their respective companies. The researcher also will also collect a three-month employees’ sales data from the head of sales department in every store and franchise. Data will be collected according to the following procedure:

  1. Three hundred and eighty-five copies of interview questions will be distributed without selecting the target audience in all the stores and franchises
  2. The respondents will indicate their gender on the questionnaires. After collecting the filled interview questions, the next step will involve data cleaning and analysis using the SPSS tool.
  3. After the analysis, the results will be presented followed by a discussion of the findings.

Method of Analysis

The research yields numerical data that has to be analysed to help in drawing findings. For example, relationships will have to be determined. This process requires skills in data processing and analysis, which the researcher does not currently possess. Therefore, services of a qualified statistician will come in handy. However, in addition to the SPSS tool, the statistician will use Künn-Nelen et al.’s (2013) approach to empirical estimation of the impacts of part-time work on employees’ performance in the selected stores and franchises.

He or she will use data on the sales made by the studied employees. Here, the statistician will differentiate between products sold by employees pursuing part-time studies in areas related to their work and those of workers pursuing part-time schooling in areas unrelated to their current partial work at McDonald’s. Before applying Equation 1 below, as described by Künn-Nelen et al. (2013), it will be crucial to differentiate sales’ data from full-time workers.

Equation

The variable (i) is the dependent variable (sales) at any time t. As explained by Künn-Nelen et al. (2013), “the main explanatory variables are the share of employees working in a large, medium or small part-time job measured in full-time equivalents, whereas, and denote the corresponding regression coefficients” (p. 1186). X stands for the controlled variable while refers to the error term of sales (i) made at time t. Since part-time studies may have an impact on sales made by an employee, using the pooled Linear Probability Model (LPM) and estimating using pooled Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), Künn-Nelen et al. ‘s (2013) Equation 2 can be developed.

Equation

Limitations of the Proposed Methodology

The methodology assumes that part-time studies have equal effects on employees’ selling capability given that such workers engage in one kind of partial job (extensive, standard, or low). It ignores one’s giftedness or ability to win more customers. However, the biggest limitation arises from the use of pooled Ordinary Least Squares to estimate Equations 1 and 2. The approach is misleading since an organisation may employ partial employees who are pursuing part-time studies due to a shortage of the labour supply or the lack of competent and skilled full-time workers. To this extent, the concept of part-time work becomes endogenous.

This situation underlines the need for introducing additional approaches to the analysis process. For example, the strategy of instrumental variable estimation may help to overcome the challenge. Lastly, an organisation may not have the capacity to keep data on the contribution of each employee in the total sales made, for instance, in a week, a month, or annually.

References

Bureau of Labour Statistics. (2015). . Web.

Carlson, J. (2015). Factors influencing retention among part-time clinical nursing faculty. Nursing Education, 36(1), 42-45.

Cegarra-Leiva, D., Sanchez-Vidal, E., & Cegarra-Navaro, G. (2012). Work life balance and retention of managers in Spanish SMEs. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(1), 91-108.

Den Dulk, L., Groeneveld, S., Ollier-Malaterre, A., & Valcour, M. (2013). National context in work-life research: A multi-level cross-national analysis of the adoption of workplace work-life arrangements in Europe. European Management Journal, 31(5), 478-494.

Erskine, M. (2012). Human capital management. Management Services, 1(1), 12-13.

Garnero, A., Kampelmann, S., & Rycx, F. (2014). Part-time work, wages and productivity: Evidence from Belgian matched panel data, Industrial and Labour Relations Review, 67(3), 926 -954.

Giannetti, C., & Madia, M. (2013). Work arrangements and firm innovation: Is there any relationship? Cambridge Journal of Economics, 37(2), 273-297.

Kramar, R., & Syed, J. (2012). Human resource management in a global context. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Künn-Nelen, A., de Grip, A., & Fouarge, D. (2013). Is part-time employment beneficial for firm productivity? Industrial and Labour Relations Review, 66(5), 1172-1191.

Revels, M., & Morris, M. (2012).Technology impacts in organisational recruitment and retention. Franklin Business and Law Journal, 3(1), 62-69.

Saunders, M, Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research methods for business students (5th ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson.

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