Work-Life Balance Essay

Submitted By jasonzhang1987
Words: 591
Pages: 3

Week 9

Work-Life Balance
In Memory of Prof. Rick Iverson

The Archetypal Structure of Work
• Work and family roles (Rapoport & Rapoport 1976, Kanter 1977)

• domestic tasks

• “The days of the male breadwinner-female housewife system of family life have gone. Yet this model still lies behind our work structures and lurks in the mind of the man in the gray flannel suit. The gap between the idealised family model and the real links between families and paid work widens every day, so we should expect the reality gap to raise some doubts in the minds of employers” (Edgar 1991, p. v)

• “….society has changed, work has changed; therefore, the workplace should change too” (Kamerman and Kahn 1987)
• less than 35 per cent of two-parent families with children conform to the traditional image

Further Issues to consider
• Work-life balance and gender

• All workers have families

• Responsibilities around caring

Defining Work-Life Balance (WLB)
• The negotiation of work and non-work boundaries

• WLB practices enhance the autonomy of workers

• “In short, work-life balance practices are those which, whether intentionally or not, increase the flexibility and autonomy of the worker in negotiating attention and presence in employment” (Felstead et al. 2002, p.56)

The Underlying Need for Work-Life Balance
• Legislation, bureaucracy & unions
• Demographics • Work-family conflict • Attraction & retention (& productivity) UK WLB issues

Types of Family Friendly Policies
• Flexible working arrangements
• family and parental leave • childcare • family support

• other

Contemporary Findings
• Wood & de Menezes 2010:
– Studied family friendly work practices (FFWPs) in UK
• To determine which firms are most likely to adopt FFWPs • Any benefits achieved from FFWPs ?

Wood & de Menezes 2010
• WLB practices can enhance commitment and heighten productivity and quality • BUT, the importance of HRM ‘bundles’ is emphasised (WLB management is not a main effect)

Contemporary Findings
• Ngo et al. 2009:
– Studied family friendly work practices (FFWPs) in MNCs in Hong Kong – Traditional Chinese culture – Female employees reported more workfamily conflict

• Employer-sponsored programs and policies designed to help employees manage work and personal life demands

• Provision varies

• Adoption determined by managerial values

• Lobel (1999) found positive effects of FFWPs on:
– Employee attitudes

– Performance

– HRM outcomes

– Organisational outcomes (mixed results)

The Missing Link ?
• Organisational climate (OC)
– “an individual’s attitude concerning the organisation, comprised of its degree of trust, morale, conflict, rewards equity, leader…