Explanations for the provision-utilisation gap in work-life policy

McDonald, Paula K., Brown, Kerry, & Bradley, Lisa M. (2005) Explanations for the provision-utilisation gap in work-life policy. Women in Management Review, 20(1), pp. 37-55.

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Purpose – Organisational work-life policies and programs allow employees to have greater control over how, when and where they work but these policies are often under-utilised, particularly by men and career-oriented employees. In what is largely an atheoretical area of literature, the paper aims to theoretically integrate the empirical literature related to the uptake of organisational work-life policies. Design/methodology/approach – The paper links three related areas of literature: the associations between work-life policies and individual/organisational outcomes; explanations for the low uptake of work-life policies in many organisations; and preliminary studies which have explored organisational culture and its relationship to work-life policies. These literatures are integrated to develop a five-dimensional construct, “organisational work-life culture”, for testing in future research. Findings – It is suggested that the following five dimensions underlie this aspect of organisational life: lack of managerial support for work-life balance; perceptions of negative career consequences; organisational time expectations; the gendered nature of policy utilisation; and perceptions of unfairness by employees with limited non-work responsibilities. Practical implications – The development and validation of the organisational work-life culture construct requires further research and may result in specific organisational strategies and policies which address the barriers to work-life policy utilisation. Originality/value – Based on existing empirical evidence, the paper suggests an original theoretical proposition: that organisational work-life culture is underpinned by five dimensions and explains much of the provision-utilisation gap in work-life policy.

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ID Code: 10689
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Careers, Gender, Hours of work, Organizational culture, Part time workers
DOI: 10.1108/09649420510579568
ISSN: 0964-9425
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Emerald
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 13 Nov 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:11

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