Work, family and organisations in transition: setting the context

Suzan Lewis, Julia Brannen and Ann Nilsen

in Work, families and organisations in transition

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847422200
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304326 | DOI:
Work, family and organisations in transition: setting the context

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Most young Europeans expect to combine paid work and parenting at the same time in their life course, although they do not have a clear idea on how easy or difficult it will be to manage and support what might be necessary. It is difficult for them to do so, as people's circumstances differ and in some national contexts there are no clear normative models that apply to both fathers and mothers. Many of the research on working parents' needs and experiences focuses either on regulation/workplace policies and national public policy, which are only part of the overall picture. National, economic, social and ideological contexts are significant. Labour market and workplace policies can make a difference to parents' lives, however, the changing economic climates and global trends also have a profound effect in shaping the practices and cultures in specific workplaces in specific contexts and societies. This volume recognises the significance of several interacting and dynamic layers of context on employees who are attempting to reconcile paid work and the tasks of parenting young children. It explores the ways in which managers manage employees' need for work-life balance while fulfilling the organisations' aims and goals of profitability and efficiency. The focus of this volume is on the workplace and the changes that are happening therein, as well as on the other layers of context that influence and are influenced by employing organisations. This volume is comprised of case studies of the changing European workplaces carried out as a part of the eight-country study entitled: ‘Transitions: Gender, Parenthood and the Changing European Workplace’. The study evaluated the experiences of employed parents and their managers, including the ways in which parents are able to negotiate work-family boundaries in varied national contexts and in the rapidly changing organisational contexts. The objective of the study is to develop an understanding of the impact of welfare state, organisational change, and workplace context on young adults who are parents in the countries of Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. The case studies in these countries provide an understanding of the processes whereby contexts create limitations as well as enable conditions where working parents can manage their everyday lives.

Keywords: paid work; parenting; working parents; workplace policies; labour market; employee; work-life balance; workplace; changing European workplaces

Chapter.  7435 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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