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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1998

Baljit Kaur Rana, Carolyn Kagan, Suzan Lewis and Usha Rout

Even though an increasing number of British South Asian women have moved into paid employment over the years as a reflection of social and cultural mobility and change…

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2070

Abstract

Even though an increasing number of British South Asian women have moved into paid employment over the years as a reflection of social and cultural mobility and change, their work‐family experiences are not widely reported. This paper examines the experiences of British South Asian full‐time managerial or professional women combining work and family life. A qualitative study based in the north‐west of England was conducted utilising semi‐structured interviews with 17 women. Five themes are discussed: cultural influences on domestic responsibilities; additional responsibilities and commitments to extended family and community members; work‐family priorities and “superwoman syndrome”; stereotypes of roles and responsibilities at work; and experiences of discrimination. Managerial or professional British South Asian women are subjected to the same cultural family commitments and expectations as other non‐professional British South Asian working women. Practical implications of the findings are related to managing diversity approaches and organisational culture change.

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Women in Management Review, vol. 13 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2001

Suzan Lewis

Work‐life polices and practices have the potential to enhance opportunities for women in the workplace (and opportunities for men to be more involved in family life), but…

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7007

Abstract

Work‐life polices and practices have the potential to enhance opportunities for women in the workplace (and opportunities for men to be more involved in family life), but are often undermined by workplace culture. Presents a case study of an organisation which is addressing issues of workplace culture in relation to work‐life policies and gender equality. Despite achieving substantial change in practice and in shared assumptions, a new set of issues have emerged which will require innovative solutions.

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Women in Management Review, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Ian Roper, David Etherington and Suzan Lewis

The purpose of this paper is to consider the resilience of a national-level initiative (Improving Working Lives (IWL)) in the face of local-level initiative (Turnaround…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the resilience of a national-level initiative (Improving Working Lives (IWL)) in the face of local-level initiative (Turnaround) in an NHS hospital and compare to Bach and Kessler’s (2012) model of public service employment relations.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study research consisting of 23 in-depth semi-structured interviews from a range of participants.

Findings

The principles behind IWL were almost entirely sacrificed in order to meet the financial objectives of Turnaround. This indicates the primacy of localised upstream performance management initiatives over the national-level downstream employee relations initiatives that form the basis of the NHS’ claim to model employer aspiration.

Research limitations/implications

The case study was conducted between 2007 and 2009. While the case study falls under previous government regime, the dualised system of national-level agreements combined with localised performance management – and the continued existence of both Turnaround and IWL – makes the results relevant at the time of writing.

Originality/value

Some studies (e.g. Skinner et al., 2004) indicated a perception that IWL was not trusted by NHS staff. The present study offers reasons as to why this may be the case.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Olga B.A. van den Akker, Nicola Payne and Suzan Lewis

The purpose of this paper is to explore factors influencing decision making about disclosure of assisted reproductive technology (ART) use in the workplace.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore factors influencing decision making about disclosure of assisted reproductive technology (ART) use in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study design was used. In total, 31 women and 6 men who were using or had recently used ART were recruited from British fertility networks and interviewed. Data were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.

Findings

Two main strands were identified each encompassing two themes: “Concerns about disclosure” covered the very personal nature of disclosing ART treatment and also career concerns and “Motives for disclosure” covered feeling which was necessary to disclose and also the influence of workplace relationships.

Research limitations/implications

The relatively small, self-selected sample of participants was recruited from fertility support networks, and lacked some diversity.

Practical implications

Clarity about entitlements to workplace support and formal protection against discrimination, along with management training and awareness raising about ART treatment is needed to help normalise requests for support and to make decisions about disclosure within the workplace easier.

Originality/value

The study has highlighted an understudied area of research in ART populations. The data provide insight into the challenging experiences of individuals combining ART with employment and, in particular, the complexity of decisions about whether or not to disclose.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Rea Prouska and Suzan Lewis

– Advances the view that work-life balance (WLB) can benefit business during financial crisis and austerity.

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2076

Abstract

Purpose

Advances the view that work-life balance (WLB) can benefit business during financial crisis and austerity.

Design/methodology/approach

Draws evidence from studies in Britain and southeastern Europe.

Findings

Introduces and explains the dual-agenda approach as a potential framework for human resources (HR) specialists, managers and employers.

Practical implications

Argues that part of the main challenge for HR is to convince senior and line management of the need for flexible working arrangements. In order to do this, HR should take charge in monitoring the effectiveness of policies, including implementation and take-up rates and especially in evaluating flexible working practices that are often developed from the bottom up.

Social implications

Describes how HR’s role in developing strategies for overcoming resistance to change among managers and others is important, and outlines such barriers to success as gendered assumptions about ideal workers who do not need time for family.

Originality/value

Argues that while WLB initiatives can be good for business and a good way of managing recession and austerity, it is crucial not to lose sight of employee needs.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 23 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2010

Suzan Lewis

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the paper “Restructuring workplace cultures: the ultimate work‐family challenge?” is published in Women in Management Review

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1626

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the paper “Restructuring workplace cultures: the ultimate work‐family challenge?” is published in Women in Management Review, Vol. 16 No. 1, 2001, pp. 21‐9.

Design/methodology/approach

The impact of the paper is considered within a framework that takes account of national discursive and political contexts in the UK in 2001 and in the present and uses a gendered organisation lens.

Findings

The 2001 paper demonstrates that progress towards changes in culture and practice to support gender equity engenders new issues, which, in turn, also need to be addressed. Reassessing these issues at the end of the decade it is clear that there are some changes but also some continuities, rooted in deeply engrained gendered workplace (and family) assumptions.

Practical implications

Further culture change will be needed to overcome persistent barriers to effective work‐life policies. This will involve challenging gendered assumptions about ideal workers and ideal working patterns. More support from public policy that recognises men's work and family needs and responsibilities is also needed to overcome inequities among male and female dominated workplaces.

Originality/value

These reflections and the original paper highlight the non‐linear nature of change towards gender equity in the workplace. New solutions raise further problems to be addressed. Gender equity is a process not an end point so constant evaluation and innovation are needed.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1991

Suzan Lewis

Dual‐career families were first identified and discussed by Britishresearchers but subsequent research has been predominantly American.This article first discusses the…

Abstract

Dual‐career families were first identified and discussed by British researchers but subsequent research has been predominantly American. This article first discusses the social context for couples combining careers and family in Britain. It then addresses the questions of whether gender roles within the family, and employers′ expectations are changing with the growth of dual‐career families. It concludes that change is slow to occur and that changes in work and family are interdependent. Implications for further organisational change are briefly discussed.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2010

Suzan Lewis

The purpose of this paper is to assess how work‐life polices and practices have the potential to enhance opportunities for women in the workplace (and opportunities for…

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2758

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess how work‐life polices and practices have the potential to enhance opportunities for women in the workplace (and opportunities for men to be more involved in family life), but are often undermined by workplace culture.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a case study of an organisation which is addressing issues of workplace culture in relation to work‐life policies and gender equality.

Findings

Despite achieving substantial change in practice and in shared assumptions, a new set of issues have emerged which will require innovative solutions.

Originality/value

The paper offers insights into how restructuring workplace cultures can present the ultimate work‐family challenge.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 26 March 2010

Suzan Lewis and Anne Laure Humbert

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) and particularly reduced hours working arrangements on a Dual Agenda of gender…

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9525

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) and particularly reduced hours working arrangements on a Dual Agenda of gender equity and workplace effectiveness, in a case study organization employing a relatively high proportion of women scientists.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews based on the initial stages of collaborative interactive action research (CIAR) are used within a case‐study approach. The interviews explored working practices, the assumptions underpinning them and their un/intended consequences.

Findings

The main form of FWA used in the organization, four days a week, is double edged and complex in its effects. It supports mothers, but at a cost because of gendered assumptions. Despite a commitment to flexibility and “work‐life balance”, the gendered construction of the ideal worker and ideas of competence conflated with hegemonic masculinity, remain powerful. This, together with a prevalent “good mother” ideology, undermines both gender equity and workplace effectiveness.

Practical implications

This paper is of value to both researchers and policy makers. It shows that highly developed work‐life balance or flexible working polices are not sufficient to enhance gender equity and points to the importance of surfacing and challenging gender assumptions in science, engineering and technology. It emphasizes the need to move forward from policy to practice.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to a growing body of work using initial stages of the CIAR methodology and showcases the theoretical insights gained by such an approach.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2000

Suzan Lewis, Carolyn Kagan and Patricia Heaton

An area of diversity currently receiving attention is the large proportion of the workforce with commitments to care for a family. Many organisations have introduced…

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2014

Abstract

An area of diversity currently receiving attention is the large proportion of the workforce with commitments to care for a family. Many organisations have introduced “family friendly” policies including parental leave, childcare assistance and reduced hours of work. But this tends to focus on mothers of healthy, young children. The intense, long‐term needs of disabled children can severely stretch the provision organisations make for parents. This article presents an interview survey of parents with disabled children. It argues that, while many of the parents experience problems establishing a work‐home balance, these are partly caused by blocks within the wider community. Organisations can certainly reap benefits from making special arrangements for employees with disabled children but there are limits to corporate responsibility in relation to non‐work barriers. The article highlights the need for diversity initiatives to look beyond the workplace and incorporate aspects of the wider context in which organisations operate.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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