Lambert’s research focuses on how employer practices shape the quality of jobs, the lives of low-paid workers, and inequality in society. Overarching themes in Lambert’s research include the widespread prevalence of precarious scheduling practices in the US labor market and their negative ramifications for workers, families, and employers. Lambert regularly advises government, labor, and business on strategies to improve jobs in ways that balance the needs of employers for labor flexibility with the needs of workers for stable and predictable hours and earnings.
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Describes the distribution of three dimensions of work schedules - advance schedule notice, fluctuating work hours, and schedule control - across early-career workers in hourly and non-hourly jobs, overall and separated by gender, regular work hours (full-time/part-time), race, and occupation. Suggests some implications of these descriptive findings for public policy and future research.
Explains how and why some employers design jobs in ways that render low-level workers irrelevant to the bottom-line, in turn making the “business case” for improving low-level jobs a hard sell.
Employs a rigorous, longitudinal design to look at how a company’s family-responsive benefits sparked good employee performance, performance that went beyond completing basic job tasks well to include participation in total quality initiatives.
Draws on a set of studies to show how conventional flexibility options do not always map well onto hourly jobs, and in certain instances, may disadvantage workers by undermining their ability to earn an adequate living. Offers alternative approaches to implementing flexibility in hourly jobs when hours are scarce and fluctuating rather than long and rigid.
Explains why understanding employer policy and practice is essential to formulating effective social policy in the U.S.
Presents findings from a study of female hourly retail workers indicating that schedule unpredictability fuels stress and work-to-family conflict regardless of how much input workers have into the timing of their work hours.
Provides insight into the daily accountability requirements that press front-line managers to make quick adjustments to work schedules and offers examples of the problematic scheduling practices that result. Uses data from a comparative study of 88 non-production jobs in 22 work sites in four industries (hospitality, retail, transportation, and financial services).