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Couples experiencing private life constraints to their career: understanding home-to-career interference from a couple's perspective

Silke Op de Beeck (Work and Organisation Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Marijke Verbruggen (Work and Organisation Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Elisabeth Abraham (Work and Organisation Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Rein De Cooman (Work and Organisation Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Antwerp, Belgium)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 18 June 2021

Issue publication date: 28 June 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines home-to-career interference (HCI), i.e., the extent to which employees perceive that their private life has constrained their career decisions to date, from a couple perspective. Building on scarcity theory, the authors expect higher levels of HCI among couples that need more and have less resources and, within couples, among the partner who is most likely to take care of home demands. Therefore, the authors explore the role of children and social support as between-couple differences and gender, relative resources and work centrality as within-couple differences. Moreover, the authors examine how one partner's HCI is related to both partners' life satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Hypotheses are tested using hierarchical linear modeling and APIM-analysis with a sample of 197 heterosexual dual-earner couples (N = 394).

Findings

As hypothesized, employees in couples with more children and less social support reported more HCI. No support was found for within-couple differences in gender, educational level or work centrality. Next, HCI was negatively related to employees' own life satisfaction but not to their partner's life satisfaction.

Originality/value

The authors enrich the understanding of HCI by examining this phenomenon from a couple perspective and shed light on couple influences on career experiences.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors like to thank Tess Schooreel for her contribution to the data collection.

Funding: This research is funded by the Research Foundation − Flanders (FWO) under grant number G075419N.

Citation

Op de Beeck, S., Verbruggen, M., Abraham, E. and De Cooman, R. (2021), "Couples experiencing private life constraints to their career: understanding home-to-career interference from a couple's perspective", Career Development International, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 435-450. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-12-2020-0309

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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