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Conflict and concord in work and family: Family policies and individuals' subjective experiences
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background This thesis explores the relationship between individuals’ subjective experiences and the welfare state setting. The research questions in focus deal with the outcomes of women’s and men’s increasing dual roles in work and family in contemporary welfare states. The studies analyse women’s and men’s subjective experiences of combining work and family, and their perceptions of fairness in the division of household work.

Methods The thesis applies a comparative perspective where the unit of analysis is country and/or family policy model. A broad perspective with the aim to capture general patterns across a broad range of welfare states is combined with a narrower case-oriented approach. Multilevel analysis is used to analyse patterns at national as well as individual levels in the same model. Latent Class Analysis is used to capture patterns of latent dimensions with regard to the central concept of subject experiences.

Results The results indicate that the introduction of policies aiming to promote dual roles among women and men and the articulation of gender equality can matter for individuals’ subjective experiences of work-family conflict. In dual-earner countries, the probability that a high level of conflict is counterbalanced by feelings of life satisfaction is higher than in other policy models. A class asymmetry is found when it comes to effects of policy on men’s and women’s levels of work-family conflict and work-family satisfaction; women in the working class and the salaried class are more similar when it comes to experiences of work-family conflict and satisfaction in Sweden than in Germany and the UK. The analysis also shows that perceptions of fairness in the division of housework are moderated by the institutional and normative context. The politicisation of gender equality increases the correspondence between actual share of housework performed and the perceptions of fairness in the division of housework. The effect of politicisation is more important for men’s perceptions than for women’s.

Conclusion The thesis contributes to a deepened understanding of the relationship between policy and work-family conflict and the integration of the perspectives of role conflict and role expansion; knowledge about the ways in which both class and gender relations are structured concerning the patterns of work-family conflict and satisfaction in different policy contexts; and new knowledge about the relationship between policy and men’s – and not only women’s – perceptions of fairness in the division of household work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2012.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 70
Keyword [en]
Work-family conflict, role expansion, family policy, gender, class, dual-earner families, household work, perceptions of fairness
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61668ISBN: 978-91-7459-526-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-61668DiVA: diva2:571392
Public defence
2012-12-14, Humanisthuset, Hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-11-23 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2012-11-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Work-family conflict in the Nordic countries: a comparative analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Work-family conflict in the Nordic countries: a comparative analysis
2012 (English)In: Journal of Comparative Family Studies, ISSN 0047-2328, E-ISSN 1929-9850, Vol. 43, no 2, 165-184 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to examine men's and women's subjective experiences of work-family conflict in the Nordic welfare states. These countries are often considered to be frontrunners with regard to gender equality, especially regarding the provision of policies that aim to support the reconciliation between work and family life. However, previous research has produced divergent results in response to the question of whether the welfare state institutions of the Nordic countries help to reduce work-family conflict. Do supportive institutions matter, or is the household division of labour of greater importance regarding experiences of work-family conflict? Drawing on data from the 2002 module of the International Social Survey Programme, the analyses indicate that experiences of work-family conflict among Nordic men and women can be divided into three clusters: work-family balance, occupational work overload, and dual work overload. In spite of their shorter working hours, women experience higher levels of work-family conflict than men. An unfair division of housework also increases work-family conflict. In the main, experiences of work-family conflict do not differ greatly among the Nordic countries, with the exception of Finland, where the level is lower than in the other countries. This points to a difference within the Nordic welfare state regime regarding the transition towards gender equality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Calgary, Canada: Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Department of Scoiology, University of Calgary, Canada, 2012
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-55042 (URN)000302526500003 ()
Available from: 2012-05-09 Created: 2012-05-07 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Rethinking work-family conflict: dual-earner policies, role conflict and role expansion in Western Europe
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rethinking work-family conflict: dual-earner policies, role conflict and role expansion in Western Europe
2010 (English)In: Journal of European Social Policy, ISSN 0958-9287, E-ISSN 1461-7269, Vol. 20, no 3, 179-195 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to deepen the understanding of work-family conflict and the impact of social policies by integrating the theoretical perspectives of role conflict and role expansion. First, we present a theoretical model identifying different mechanisms through which policy may affect both role conflict and role expansion, with a particular focus on dual-earner policies. Second, we examine some of its implications, using data from the European Social Survey comprising 10,950 employees in 15 countries. In contrast to traditional theories presenting conflict and expansion as mutually exclusive, we find that work—family conflict and experiences of role expansion, measured with indicators of life satisfaction and psychological well being, may go hand in hand. The results also indicate that such a balance is more common in countries with dual-earner policies than in other countries. Women committing as strongly to work as men experience more work-family conflict, but also high levels of well being and satisfaction. The findings largely support our theoretical arguments and imply that future research should examine the conflict-expansion nexus rather than focussing on either of the two. In this context, both gender and policy need to be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Publications, 2010
Keyword
dual-earner families, gender, role expansion, social policy, well being, work–family conflict
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35416 (URN)10.1177/0958928710364431 (DOI)000279230500001 ()
Available from: 2010-08-18 Created: 2010-08-18 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Interactions of class, gender and policy: Implications for work-family conflict and satisfaction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interactions of class, gender and policy: Implications for work-family conflict and satisfaction
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to explore theinteractive effects of gender, social class and public policy on men’s andwomen’s subjective experiences of work-family conflict and work-familysatisfaction. The central idea is that effects of gender and class covariatebetween different types of family policy models. Most previous comparativeresearch on the experiences of work-family conflict among women and men indifferent social contexts has assumed that class effects are similar acrosspolicy models. However, the results in this paper point to a class asymmetrywhen it comes to effects of policy on men’s and women’s levels of work-familyconflict and work-family satisfaction in three countries representing typicalcases with regard to family policy model (Germany, the UK, and Sweden). Theanalysis draws on data from the 2002 round of the International Social SurveyProgramme concerning family and changing gender roles, and shows that patternsof work-family conflict and work-family satisfaction differ among welfarestates. In Sweden women both in the working class and the salaried classexperience higher work-family conflict than men. However, these feelings ofconflict go hand in hand with correspondingly higher levels of work-familysatisfaction. In Germany class cleavages are more prominent than gender withregard to experiences of work-family conflict, while in the UK, women in thesalaried classes stand out with the highest level of work-family conflict ofall groups. In both Germany and the UK, experiences of work-family satisfactiondo not differ significantly between men and women in different classes. 

Keyword
gender, class, family policy, work-family conflict, work-family satisfaction
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61666 (URN)
Available from: 2012-11-22 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2012-11-22Bibliographically approved
4. Is it fair to share? Perceptions of fairness in the division of housework among couples in 22 countries.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Is it fair to share? Perceptions of fairness in the division of housework among couples in 22 countries.
2013 (English)In: Social Justice Research, ISSN 0885-7466, E-ISSN 1573-6725, Vol. 26, no 4, 400-421 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores the relationship between the actual division of housework and men’s and women’s perceived fairness in this regard. The central question is how the actual sharing of housework influences the perceptions of fairness in the division of housework. It is hypothesized that the perceptions of fairness differ between policy models. In countries where gender equality has been more present on the political agenda and dual-earner policies have been introduced, people are expected to be more sensitive to an unfair sharing or division of housework. By analysing the relationship between actual division of housework and perceptions of fairness in household work for 22 countries representing different family policy models, the study takes on a comparative perspective with the purpose of analysing the normative impact of policy. The analysis draws on data from the 2002 round of the International Social Survey Programme on family and changing gender roles. The results show that in countries that have promoted gender equality through the introduction of policies with an aim to promote dual roles in work and family, both women and men are more sensitive to an unfair division of household labour. The difference between perceptions in the different policy models is greater among men than among women, indicating that a politicization of the dual-earner family is more important for men’s equity perceptions than women’s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2013
Keyword
division of labour, fairness, family policy, gender, household work
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61660 (URN)10.1007/s11211-013-0195-x (DOI)
Available from: 2012-11-22 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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