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Article

Liz Doherty

This article uses evidence from a piece of action research conducted in the UK hospitality industry to explore the effectiveness of work‐life balance initiatives in…

Abstract

This article uses evidence from a piece of action research conducted in the UK hospitality industry to explore the effectiveness of work‐life balance initiatives in helping women progress to senior management. It explores the main barriers to women's progression and highlights the long hours associated with managerial roles as a major problem. The article shows that the business case which underpins diversity management and a voluntary approach to work‐life balance may only deliver positive benefits to women when the labour market is tight, and, even then, the benefits for women in management are far from demonstrated. A stronger equal opportunities approach is also shown to be problematic as it draws attention to women's “difference” to men and their need for special treatment. Given the contingent nature of the business case, it is argued that a strong floor of rights is still needed to protect the most vulnerable employees, especially in an industry where trade unions have virtually no “voice”. It is further argued that more work needs to be done with male managers in order to humanise the workplace for men and women who wish to lead rounded lives.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Abstract

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Employee Relations, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Stefan Groseschl and Liz Doherty

Discusses some key issues arising when attempting to conceptualize culture. Aims to identify common areas among researchers’ culture approaches. Reviews ways culture has…

Abstract

Discusses some key issues arising when attempting to conceptualize culture. Aims to identify common areas among researchers’ culture approaches. Reviews ways culture has been expressed by writers in varying disciplines. Uses tables and a figure to further explain comparisons. Closes by stating culture is a very complex term – difficult to define – but greater clarity in communication between academics and practitioners can only assist.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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Article

Liz Doherty and Simonetta Manfredi

The purpose of this research is to explore the career routes and advancement procedures for both academic and support staff in English universities and the extent to which…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to explore the career routes and advancement procedures for both academic and support staff in English universities and the extent to which these might constitute barriers to progression.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was conducted in four universities, two pre‐1992 universities and two post‐1992 universities, based in one region of England. Secondary data were collected in the form of equality monitoring statistics and documentation relating to the universities' advancement procedures. Primary data were collected through 26 semi‐structured interviews with senior people involved in decision‐making about promotions. These included HR specialists and senior academics such as Deans, Pro Vice‐Chancellors and Vice‐Chancellors.

Findings

The research shows that women are now progressing well to the promoted lecturer grade, but that their careers stall beyond this level. Women's less developed research profile is the main impediment to them gaining professorial status. In “old” universities, the processes used for progression to some senior academic management roles are obscure and may operate as a form of indirect discrimination. There is some evidence that women adopt a version of the transformational leadership style, but it is not clear whether this helps or hinders their career progression. In addition, women are more reluctant than men to put themselves forward for advancement and they value work‐life balance.

Originality/value

This paper provides new evidence about the operation of advancement processes in universities. It points to specific areas where university HR processes and equality monitoring need to be improved. It also contributes to the debate about leadership/management and the extent to which women adopt a style which is different to that of men.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Frieda Murphy and Liz Doherty

The purpose of this paper is to explore the experience of work‐life balance amongst senior managers, with particular emphasis on the cause of imbalances. The research is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the experience of work‐life balance amongst senior managers, with particular emphasis on the cause of imbalances. The research is set in a call centre in Ireland at a time when the economy was moving from growth to recession.

Design/methodology/approach

A single case study approach is taken. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with all eight members of senior management in Ireland and with five members of senior management based in five sites across Europe. In addition, company documentation was used.

Findings

The overall findings of this study point towards the effect the economy has on the promotion and adoption of work‐life balance initiatives. The findings also show that it is not possible to measure work‐life balance in an absolute way, because personal circumstances influence the way this is perceived. Whilst managers with caring responsibilities have obvious work‐life conflicts, the findings show that some childless managers do also, but cannot find a legitimate justification for addressing their needs. Finally, the findings show that long hours and presenteeism do form “part of the job” when accepting a role at a higher level. However, modern technology has helped this to some extent by allowing senior managers to be accessible instead of having to be present in the office.

Originality/value

The paper provides new insights into aspects of managerial work which impact on work‐life balance – in particular the pressure to “choose” to work long hours, the role of technology, the negative impact of traveling time, and the need for more cultural support for a better work‐life balance for managers.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article

Liz Doherty and Simonetta Manfredi

This paper aims to show the extent to which an action research approach, which incorporates learning from previous studies and interventions, can be used to progress…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to show the extent to which an action research approach, which incorporates learning from previous studies and interventions, can be used to progress work‐life balance (WLB) policies and practices in a university context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper builds on the now considerable knowledge relating to the theory and practice of WLB. It adopts an action research/change management approach as part of a project partly funded by the Department for Trade and Industry partnership scheme. Specific methods utilised include a fundamental review of organisational policy using an evaluative matrix and an analysis of the outcomes of four workshops with 51 line managers.

Findings

The findings show considerable differences between the experiences of administrative, professional, technical and clerical (APT&C) staff and academics. In particular, APT&C staff seek a greater sense of “entitlement” and more trust and autonomy, whereas academic staff seek a more manageable work load. By moving through the stages of the action research cycle, many of the limitations associated with past WLB initiatives can be overcome for APT&C staff. By comparison, universities' disinclination to tackle academic work intensification is best explained by the lack of labour market pressure to do so and the fact that sustainable WLB does not constitute part of the “tablestakes” of academic employment.

Originality/value

The paper presents theoretical models, together with practical approaches for embedding WLB into organisational cultures. It also offers theoretical explanations for employers' predisposition to adopt WLB change programmes.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article

Philmore Alleyne, Liz Doherty and Dion Greenidge

The purpose of this paper is to measure the extent of the adoption of human resource management (HRM), the existence of a formal HR strategy, and the development of the HR…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to measure the extent of the adoption of human resource management (HRM), the existence of a formal HR strategy, and the development of the HR function in the Barbados hotel industry compared with Hoque's sample of hotels in the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative survey, covering 46 hotels out of a population of 75 hotels was conducted with the respondents being the hotel's management: a general manager, HR manager or line manager.

Findings

It was found that the adoption of human resource (HR) practices was more prevalent in Barbados hotels than in the UK sample. With respect to the existence of a formal HR strategy, the results were mixed. The results also show that in many respects the Barbados hotels are ahead of their UK counterparts in the development of the HR function.

Research limitations/implications

The research focused on a small sample in a developing country. In addition, responses were obtained from top management rather than all levels of staff.

Practical implications

The findings about HR practices were based on management assertions. There is need for a follow‐up with more tangible evidence.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the importance of HR practices in a developing country. These findings were unexpected, given that the UK is a mature western economy, where Barbados is classified as a developing country. They may be explained by the better‐developed formal systems for the management of employment relations at an industry‐level in Barbados.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article

Stefan Gröschl and Liz Doherty

Presents the findings of a research project which analysed diversity management approaches, and in particular the ethnic minority policies of international hotel chains…

Abstract

Presents the findings of a research project which analysed diversity management approaches, and in particular the ethnic minority policies of international hotel chains operating in San Francisco. The primary research was based on the work of Kandola and Fullerton (1994) and included questionnaires and interviews with seven human resource directors. The study did not intend to create a representative sample or to explore diversity management practices in general. It concentrated on gathering in‐depth data on hotels which were expected to have the most advanced policies and practices in the area of diversity management and equal opportunities. Most of the sample hotels implemented a “reactive diversification strategy” which tolerates, but does not expressly value, the diversity of a workforce. Therefore, many of the sample hotels could be categorised as plural organisations which focus on affirmative action programmes required by law and equal opportunity training. To achieve some of the benefits of diversity promoted by supporters of diversity management, the hotels would have to change from plural to multicultural organisations which foster and value cultural differences.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 11 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article

Liz Doherty and Ann Norton

The purpose of this paper is to understand how “good” HR practice is characterised in SMEs and what the drivers are for adopting this good practice. The paper also…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how “good” HR practice is characterised in SMEs and what the drivers are for adopting this good practice. The paper also explores methods for measuring the impact of HR practice which are helpful and realistic in the context of an SME.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was carried out in one SME, a bakery based in South Yorkshire. It was an action research project which utilised semi-structured interviews, participant observation on the factory floor and analysis of company documentation in the diagnosis phase. In addition, reflections on action interventions have informed the findings, together with post-project, semi-structured interviews with key actors three years after the completion of the project.

Findings

The drivers of good HR practice were found to be size, market position, external “coercive networks”, presenting issues, the ideology of the managing director and the energy of an HR champion. The findings demonstrate that the impact of “good” HR practice can be best evaluated in SMEs through one-shot, cost-based metrics or more strategic qualitative measures.

Originality/value

The paper develops an original model to show the relationship between the drivers, the HR practices adopted and measurable outcomes. This makes an important contribution to the debate about HRM within SMEs and it has practical value for informing the development of good HR practice in SMEs.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 36 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Liz Doherty and Simonetta Manfredi

The overall purpose of the paper is to understand the barriers to women's progression to senior positions in universities. It aims to explore similarities and differences…

Abstract

Purpose

The overall purpose of the paper is to understand the barriers to women's progression to senior positions in universities. It aims to explore similarities and differences between the career experiences and leadership styles of men and women in middle‐ and senior‐level positions at one university. The ultimate aim is to identify interventions to help create a more equal gender balance at senior levels.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods approach was adopted. In‐depth interviews were conducted with a quota sample of 53 men and women in order to explore their lived career experiences. In addition, 50 questionnaires were received from the same sample in order to compare factual data about the participants' life histories and biographical circumstances.

Findings

The findings show that women's human capital and career progression to date are at least equal to those of men and that this has been achieved without women sacrificing a holistic family life. They also show that there are still some important differences between men and women in the way they plan and manage their careers and the leadership style that they adopt.

Practical implications

A five‐level framework is proposed which sets down the types of intervention that are required to create a more equal gender balance in senior positions. It is argued that this should be used to shape the gender equality schemes developed in universities under the Gender Equality Duty.

Originality/value

The paper provides new evidence about the residual differences between men's and women's career experiences, even in an employment context, which is particularly supportive of women. It also makes a significant contribution to the debate about the gendered nature of leadership.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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