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A Grounded Theory of Portfolio Working: Experiencing the Smallest of Small Businesses

Опубликовано на портале: 29-11-2006
International Small Business Journal. 2006.  Vol. 24. No. 4. P. 179-203. 
Portfolio working has been championed, most noticeably by Handy (1995), as a new way in which we should understand many working lives. It is said to be characterized by obtaining and doing a variety of pieces of work for a number of different clients or employers and is suggested by many to be an increasing practice. To understand how individuals who work in this way experience portfolio working, 26 semi-structured interviews were carried out with a range of portfolio workers and then analysed using a grounded theory technique. The model that was generated suggested that a particular combination of features characterized portfolio working: the self-management of work, the independent generation of work and income, the development of a variety of work and clients, and a working environment situated outside any single organization. The model further demonstrated how these combined features engendered three main psychological processes central to the experience of portfolio working: autonomy, uncertainty and social isolation. The nature of the processes had a subsequent impact upon the individual's work intensity, well-being and work–life balance. Personal and situational characteristics also emerged as playing a notable role in how portfolio working is experienced.
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