Unpredictable working time, well-being and health in the police service

Scholarios, Dora, Hesselgreaves, Hannah and Pratt, Raymond (2017) Unpredictable working time, well-being and health in the police service. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28 (16). pp. 2275-2298. ISSN 0958-5192

Scholarios_etal_IJHRM_2017_wellbeing_and_health_in_the_police_service.pdf - Accepted Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2017.1314314


The unpredictability of working time is a seldom studied feature of employment. This paper proposes that unpredictability in scheduling is associated with greater employee work-life conflict and perceived stress. This, in turn, has implications for health behaviour (alcohol consumption, sleep disturbance) and symptoms (digestive and cardiovascular problems). Increasing employee control through flexible working arrangements (FWA) is examined as a potential moderator. We also examine the possibility that alcohol consumption exacerbates the negative effects of unpredictability on well-being and health. A survey of 1207 police officers, for whom working unsocial hours is commonly accepted, showed direct effects of unpredictability over and above nonstandard hours on digestive health, and indirect effects through well-being on sleep, digestive and cardiovascular health. In some cases, these indirect effects were reduced or absent with greater employee control through FWA, although this was not uniform. Alcohol consumption intensified the effects of unpredictability on well-being and some health outcomes. As well as highlighting unpredictability as a key dimension of working time quality, the findings reflect a tension between employer-centred scheduling strategies for enhancing workforce flexibility and HRM practices, such as FWA, which purport to provide employees with greater control and work-life balance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Non-standard working time; flexibility; shift working; wellbeing; health; police
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N200 Management studies
N600 Human Resource Management
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2021 11:00
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 14:20
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45145

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