Reduced-load (RL) work, a flexible customized form of part-time work in which a full-time job is redesigned to reduce the hours and the workload while taking a pay cut, can enable sustainable careers. Yet previous research suggests mixed results, with RL work facing implementation hurdles such as insufficient workload reduction, and stalled careers often adversely affecting women and caregivers. This study, therefore, focuses on the implementation of sustainable RL work and sheds light on key issues under-examined in prior studies: 1) the job redesign tactics that supervising managers implement to reduce workloads, and 2) shared responsibilities at the job and organizational levels. Drawing on the literature on sustainable careers, work redesign, and job crafting, we analyze 86 qualitative interviews with managers who experimented with RL work, HR experts, and executives in 20 organizations that were early adopters of RL work. We identify differentiating and integrating work redesign tactics that either reduced or reshuffled workloads. Next, we propose a three-stage process of collaborative crafting of RL work, in which employees, managers, and employers share responsibilities to strengthen the work redesign tactics and manage cultural expectations to support RL implementation. We provide implications for future research and practice.


This is the published version of

Ellen Ernst Kossek, Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, Desperately seeking sustainable careers: Redesigning professional jobs for the collaborative crafting of reduced-load work, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 117, 2020, 103315, ISSN 0001-8791, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2019.06.003.


Collaborative job crafting, Flexibility, Flexible work arrangements, Part-time, Reduced-load work, Sustainable careers, Workload

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