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I've got to explain for and against why boundaryless careers benefit employers over employees...it's for business studies.
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There are benefits to the employer, but there are also benefits to the employee. You are no longer tied to one company, one place and one salary schedule. With a boundaryless career, you have the freedom to try different companies until you find one that is a good fit. The idea is that we no longer have to just accept where we land. We can keep moving up.
If employers find a person who is hired for the first contract ideal for them, it would suit the employer to try to build a long term relation, even if it comes at an extra cost. The advances that we have made in the field of telecommunications now make telecommuting a very feasible option. It saves funds for employers who no longer have to create office space which can be quite expensive. If it is possible to get a programmer to write the same code while she is sitting in her house, there doesn't seem to be much of a point in renting costly office space, furniture, etc.
With the increase in businesses that are spread across the globe, virtual conferences and meetings are already something that is used extensively.
As far as building loyalty goes, a person who can provide excellent results is surely one who employers would try to keep. A boundary less work place would not eliminate the importance of ensuring that talent is ready and certainly available. Employers could even offer the chosen few additional benefits from all that they get to save in other areas.
The fact that employers have no obligations towards those employed is a double edged sword. Employers have to always keep in mind that their employees can use it against them just as easily as they can.
If I understand this concept, then the term "a dime a dozen" might apply here. Employees would be interchangeable, and employers would really have no incentive for developing loyalty among the employees as there would always be someone else to fill a vacancy. This would also enable businesses to terminate employees before they become eligible for certain benefits. If it reinforces the bottom dollar, most businesses would do it.
I think the concept of having a boundaryless career is clearly more suited to some professions than to others. Whilst there are definite advantages in the areas of IT and so on, where skilled individuals can itinerantly sell their services to the highest bidder, it wouldn't really fit an area like education as #5 identifies. Personally, I do find a gradual trend towards more virtual employment worrying if it is accompanied by a lack of commitment and loyalty. However, I don't necessarily agree that this follows. I am an editor on enotes and I feel that I have a good working relationship with the enotes team, even though I have never set foot in the US or met them face to face.
There are many different ways to define a "boundaryless career", and some are more business friendly than others. A worker who fits into an industry where labor is in demand, such as Information Technology, tends to be more transient than in some other fields, like education, for example. So the business benefits from a flow of skilled employees that do not stick around long enough for promotion or salary advances. These kinds of workers, I believe, are a lot more easily outsourced to cheaper labor markets, which also benefits the company.
Interesting...you have many excellent points in the responses above. To this, I would add that the employee-employer relationship may or may not be a face-to-face situation which lends itself to the company loyalty issue. Our society is moving more toward social and work relationships over the internet and other techonology, which promotes less emotional connection. Therefore, the employee feels no loyalty to any one person or the company itself and the company finds it easier to hire and fire at will without taking into consideration an employee's home situation, financial need, etc. as is often the case in an office situation.
Companies who offer these types of jobs to consultants normally do so on a temporary or "until the job is completed" scenario, which may cause greater stress on the employee (knowing the time of employment is limited) or greater attraction for an employee who may like moving around and working for multiple companies simultaneously.
Several advantages for employers includecost, as mentioned above, and expertise. Companies which do not have enough to offer a fulll-time employee (in terms of location, money, benefits, or even the amount of work available) can hire an independent contractor who can provide affordable expertise from whatever location he chooses. The negative, of course, is probably a decrease in company loyalty and the loss of employee camaraderie. In one sense, a boundaryless worker is presumably highly motivated by money and the opportunity to work only on jobs he chooses. In another sense, where there is no loyalty or face-to-face accountability, there is the possibility of inferior work or production. Interesting essay topic!
You could argue that the idea of boundaryless careers allows companies to hire more temporary, contract workers instead of hiring full-time employees. In the old model, you went to work as a full-time employee for a company. That gave you benefits, more job security, etc. Now, with the "boundaryless" career, the idea of being tied to one company goes away. That can sound good for the worker, but it also allows the company to get rid of him or her much more easily and it allows the company to (most likely) spend less money on the worker than they otherwise would have.
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