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Work-Life Conflict in the Economic Recession – The experiences of Swedish employees

Författare och institution:
Linda Lane (Institutionen för socialt arbete)
Publicerad i:
Proceedings: 5th International Community, Work and Family Conference, 17-19 July 2013, University of Sydney, Australia,
Konferensbidrag - refereegranskat abstract
Sammanfattning (abstract):
This paper explores the influence of the ongoing economic recession on work life conflict and well-being of Swedish employees. Current knowledge indicates that the recession has not affected all employees equally. For example, due to gender segregation, the gender wage gap and less secure standing in the labour market women and men are hypothesized as affected in different ways. Furthermore, social class is likely to play an important role in outcomes for both men and women. Consequently, although the global economic downturn has affected well-being of all employees, the ramifications for individual employees’ are unclear. The aim of this paper is to explore from a gender and class perspective how the effects of the economic recession for work-life conflict affect employees and their families. Life at work and life outside of work does not make up two separate worlds; individuals’ effort to balance the two is associated with both work and non-work demands. As a consequence, employee’s ability to balance work and life demands is a problem not only for themselves, but also for the organisations in which they are employed and their families. Previous researches have linked work-life conflict to job satisfaction, job stress and absenteeism at work and to marital satisfaction, parenting and family roles and family-life satisfaction. Work-life conflict is theorised as a form of inter-role conflict that occurs when the cumulative demand of work and non-work roles are incompatible in some respect so that participation in one role is made more difficult by participation in the other role. An assumption of the role conflict model that the more roles one occupies the higher the potential for stress and strain due to the incompatibility of the demands imposed by the different roles and the fact that the different responsibilities compete for time and energy. Role conflict can be understood as two separate forms of conflict; role overload that refers to a situation of having too much to do in given amount of time and role interference that occurs when incompatible demands make it difficult for an employee to perform all roles well. The first form is associated with perceptions of pressure and strain and the second with time issues. The data is from the European Social Survey (ESS) Family, Work and Well-being (FWW) modules for 2004 and 2010. The study is limited to a sub-sample of Swedish employees (N = 1500, 2004) and (N = 1948) 2010. Of central interest is the effect of the recession for gender outcomes. To capture gender differences in perceptions of conflict the research problem is approached from both work-family interference and family-work interference dimensions of role conflict as previous research has shown that men and women experience the facets differently. The second focus of interest is social class. Working conditions and the position of employees within organisations – occupations, job status and job latitude are expected to be associated with individuals’ ability to balance work and life demands. To capture class position the study adopts Wright’s class scheme based on ownership, hierarchy and autonomy as developed and elaborated by Leiulfsrud, Bison and Jensberg using ESS data. The study is expected to show that work-life conflict increased during the recession. That both men and women during the period studied experienced greater challenges in balancing the demands of the various roles they engaged in. We expect increased demands to be associated with both forms of work-life conflict. From a class perspective, we expect to find that work pressure increased during the studied, that part-time work and flexible work arrangements have also increased but whether these changes have increased or decreased perceptions of work-life conflict will depend on the employees’ position in the class schema. From a gender perspective, increased work demands is expected to disadvantage women with childcare responsibilities compared to men or other women without these responsibilities. Therefore, some intersections of class and gender are expected to be more detrimental for work/life balance than others. Furthermore, lower levels of support for lone- parent households compared to dual-earner households in the Swedish family welfare system will disadvantage these groups further as employers’ perceptions of them as unreliable and inflexible labour informs the type, form and duration of employment.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Sociologi ->
Sociologi (exklusive socialt arbete, socialpsykologi och socialantropologi)
Sociologi ->
Socialt arbete ->
economic recession, family, gender, Sweden, work, work-life balance, work-life conflict
Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2014-01-03 13:32
Posten ändrad:
2014-03-17 16:32

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