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Managers dealing with work‐family‐conflict: an explorative analysis

Helmut Kasper (Department of Change Management and Management Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria)
Michael Meyer (Department of Organizational Behavior, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria)
Angelika Schmidt (Department of Change Management and Management Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 1 July 2005

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Abstract

Purpose

Most managers are heavily affected by the relationship between their professional and their private life. Work‐life‐balance is discussed rarely without discomfort, which suggests a massive tension and conflict caused by the contradiction of private and professional requirements. Managers use a range of individual strategies to deal with this conflict situation. An explorative empirical study on these strategies is presented.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample is drawn largely according to the principles of theoretical sampling, different family‐work constellations provide the basis of selection. Our sample includes people from the upper and highest levels of organizational hierarchies. Most of them have children and working partners, hence they find themselves in specific phases of the family cycle. Thirty problem‐focussed interviews are content analyzed. In order to reveal pattern of dealing with work‐life‐conflict cluster and pronominal analyses are applied.

Findings

Results show three distinct prototypes of dealing with the work‐family‐tension: career as subject of social fascination, family as a factual task, the tradition of two worlds, double burden and the pressure of tasks. One outstanding result in advance: if both partners are professionally active (Double Career Couples), the family will increasingly be dominated by merely functional requirements.

Originality/value

Explorative analyses and results are presented. The applied combination of content analysis and detailed linguistic procedures allows a new, more differentiated view on how managers perceive work‐life‐balance. Real types of handling work‐life‐conflicts are revealed. Based on these findings, more quantitative and structured analyses of managers' work‐life‐behavior can be conducted, especially on these types' overall prevalence, on changes in the course of managers' life cycle, on causal factors, and on implications for human resource management.

Keywords

Citation

Kasper, H., Meyer, M. and Schmidt, A. (2005), "Managers dealing with work‐family‐conflict: an explorative analysis", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 440-461. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940510602978

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited