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The ideal worker norm refers to the belief that employees can and should be singularly devoted to work. Our purpose is to understand the extent to which workers buy into…
The ideal worker norm refers to the belief that employees can and should be singularly devoted to work. Our purpose is to understand the extent to which workers buy into various components of ideal work and how unpopular components of the ideal worker norm persist. We hypothesize they persist, at least in part, because of pluralistic ignorance. Pluralistic ignorance entails situations in which most people privately reject a norm, but incorrectly assume others accept it.
Drawing on original survey data, we examine the extent to which US workers subscribe to a range of factors described in the ideal work literature. We test the pluralistic ignorance hypothesis by comparing workers’ agreement with, and their perceptions of their coworkers’ agreement with, these factors.
We find workers embrace some components of ideal work. Yet, regardless of gender or parental status, they dislike those components that involve working extremely long hours and prioritizing work at the expense of personal or family life. In addition, regardless of gender or parental status, workers experience pluralistic ignorance with respect to those components that involve prioritizing work at the expense of personal or family life.
Our findings suggest that researchers distinguish between different components of ideal work. They also suggest that everyone – not just women or parents – desire work–family balance. Lastly, because people often behave in ways that are congruent with what they mistakenly believe to be the norm, our findings suggest workers may unintentionally perpetuate family-unfriendly workplace standards.
Discrimination against workers because of their family responsibilities can violate federal law, yet scholars know little about the context surrounding perceived family…
Discrimination against workers because of their family responsibilities can violate federal law, yet scholars know little about the context surrounding perceived family responsibilities discrimination (FRD). This chapter investigates both the types of caregiving responsibilities that put workers at risk of FRD and the organizational contexts that give rise to perceived FRD.
We identify features of FRD which make detecting it particularly difficult and theorize the mechanisms by which caregiving responsibilities and organizational contexts lead to perceived FRD. We draw on data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce for our empirical analysis.
Caregivers who provide both child and eldercare are more likely to perceive FRD than caregivers who provide one type of care, as are people who experience high levels of family-to-work interference and who spend more daily time on childcare. Certain family-friendly and meritocratic organizational contexts are associated with lower perceived FRD.
We measure perceptions, not actual discrimination on the basis of family care responsibilities. Our research cannot pinpoint the factors which intensify or lessen actual discrimination, just perceptions of it.
By pinpointing the characteristics of organizations in which perceived FRD occurs, this chapter shows how organizations can create workplaces in which perceived FRD is less likely.
Purpose – The introductory chapter to this special issue highlights contemporary scholarship on networks, work, and inequality.Methodology – We review the last decade of…
Purpose – The introductory chapter to this special issue highlights contemporary scholarship on networks, work, and inequality.Methodology – We review the last decade of research on this topic, identifying four key areas investigation: (1) networks and hiring, (2) networks and the labor process, (3) networks and outcomes at work, and (4) networks and institutional dynamics.Findings – Social networks play an important role in understanding the mechanisms by which and the conditions under which economic inequality is reproduced across gender, race, and social class distinctions. Throughout the review, we point to numerous opportunities for future research to enhance our understanding of these social processes.