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Revisiting the social construction of family in the context of work

Beauregard, T. Alexandra ORCID: 0000-0002-9348-9110, Ozbilgin, Mustafa and Bell, Myrtle P. (2009) Revisiting the social construction of family in the context of work. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 24 (1). pp. 46-65. ISSN 0268-3946

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Identification Number: 10.1108/02683940910922537


Purpose of this paper: To demonstrate how traditional definitions of family, in the context of employment, have not kept pace with actual family formation in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world, and how this disadvantages individuals from atypical (i.e., non-nuclear), but increasingly common, families. Design/methodology/approach: A wide range of literature from disciplines spanning industrial relations, gerontology, management, and family studies is invoked to illustrate how employers’ definitions of “family” are often incompatible with actual contemporary family structures, and how this poses difficulties for employed individuals in non-traditional families. Findings: Many family structures are not accounted for by employment legislation and thus organizational work-family policies. These include same-sex couples, multi-generational and extended families (e.g., including parents or other elders; members from outside the bloodline or with grandparents providing primary care for grandchildren) and virtual families. Practical implications (if applicable): We discuss a number of problems associated with current provision of work-family policy and practice among organizations, and recommend that governments and organizations expand upon the traditional definition of “family” to better enable employees in a variety of familial configurations to successfully balance their work and family demands. What is original/value of paper: This paper identifies current failings in employment legislation and suggests improvements so that both governments and organizations can better facilitate employees’ work-life balance. As such, it will be of use researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers interested in the interface between work and family. Keywords: family, legislation, work-life balance, work-family policies, diversity

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2009 15:53
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:52

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