While the literature in relation to managing the work-nonwork boundary retains a strong focus on the consistent use of segmenting or integrating boundary management practices, recent studies indicate that individuals' behaviours are often inconsistent. To add to this emerging strand of research, this article is set in the context of flexible working to examine how knowledge workers use time, space and objects to demarcate the work-nonwork boundary. The analysis identifies three configurations of boundary management practices with differing degrees of inconsistency in the use of time, space and objects. Its contribution is three-fold: (1) it provides an original, systematic exploration of boundary management practices that do not represent consistency; (2) it creates a framework within which differing degrees of inconsistency in people's boundary management practices can be observed; and (3) it demonstrates new and crucial differences between distinct inconsistent approaches to demarcating the work-nonwork boundary.
We thank all research participants for their contribution to our study. We also thank all colleagues for their constructive feedback on this article at different stages of development, particularly participants in sub-theme 35 of the 2017 EGOS Colloquium, Dr Susan Kirk, the Editor and the three anonymous reviewers.
Funding by British Academy and Leverhulme Trust under the Small Grant Scheme (award No. SG152296) for this research is gratefully acknowledged
- boundary management
- flexible working
- knowledge workers