Work—family policies in a contradictory culture: a Dutch financial sector corporation

Bram Peper, Laura den Dulk and Anneke van Doorne-Huiskes

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 policies in a contradictory culture: a Dutch financial sector corporation

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This chapter describes the context in the Netherlands where current public policy defines the work-family ‘balance’ as a shared responsibility between government, employees and employers. However, assumptions about gendered responsibilities remain rather traditional. Drawing on a case study of a Dutch finance company, the chapter describes an organisation that adopts several formal supportive policies and experiences many tensions. It shows how work-family policies play out in paradoxical and ambivalent ways in the organisation at different levels, and the consequences for working parents and their managers. The chapter argues that although employers recognise and acknowledge that work-family policies and supports make sense in the changing economic environments and are intended to enhance employee satisfaction, in practice these policies do not feature in senior management strategic business planning and hence, are not included in the organisational culture. As a result, workers do not feel entitle to take advantage of them.

Keywords: Netherlands; public policy; work-family balance; shared responsibility; gendered responsibilities; Dutch finance company; work-family policies

Chapter.  6798 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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