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Work–life balance: One size fits all? An exploratory analysis of the differential effects of career stage.

Darcy, Colette, McCarthy, Alma, Hill, Jimmy and Grady, Geraldine (2012) Work–life balance: One size fits all? An exploratory analysis of the differential effects of career stage. European Management Journal, 30 (2). pp. 111-120. ISSN 0263-2373

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This paper explores the antecedents of work–life balance for employees as they progress through different career stages denoted by age. To date, research has failed to adequately explore how work–life balance issues develop over the course of an employee’s working life. As a consequence, much of the work–life balance policy and practice research examines WLB issues from a relatively static and unchanging perspective resulting in praxis which is undifferentiated. Such a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the design and development of work–life balance initiatives is not only costly but likely to be ineffective in terms of meeting the real needs of different categories of employees. This paper challenges the static approaches and instead seeks to examine if and how WLB is affected and shaped by different antecedents as they impact on differing career stages as defined by distinct age categorisations.

The research was carried out among a sample of 729 employees in 15 organisations (10 private sector and 5 public sector organisations) in the Republic of Ireland. Four career stages are considered with regard to both men and women irrespective of their parenting status. The findings suggest that factors which impact upon work–life balance differ marginally across various career stages thereby indicating that WLB is a concern for employees at all career stages and not the preserve of parents with young children only. These findings shed new light on our understanding of the antecedents of work–life balance and have particular implications for organisations who wish to foster a culture which values work–life balance across all career stages for all their employees.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Quality of Work Life / Job Satisfaction
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Timothy Lawless
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2014 14:10
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2014 10:05

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