Introduction: perspectives on work-life balance

Reed, Ken, Blunsdon, Betsy, Blyton, Paul and Dastmalchian, Ali 2005, Introduction: perspectives on work-life balance, Labour and industry, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 5-14.

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Title Introduction: perspectives on work-life balance
Author(s) Reed, Ken
Blunsdon, Betsy
Blyton, Paul
Dastmalchian, Ali
Journal name Labour and industry
Volume number 16
Issue number 2
Start page 5
End page 14
Publisher Griffith University
Place of publication Brisbane, Qld.
Publication date 2005-12
ISSN 1030-1763
Summary Work-life balance has emerged as a major concern for researchers trying to map the dimensions and causes of the issue, for policy makers searching for uncontroversial solutions to the problem and for individuals trying to construct satisfying and productive lives. There is some agreement over the main contributors to the work-life balance 'problem': the increase in female participation in the workforce since the 1960s; changes to work from the mid-1970s, in particular greater work intensification, an increase in alternative work schedules away from the standard working week and the growth of casual jobs (particularly in Australia); and a de-differentiation of roles, which has contributed to greater spill-over between work and other roles.

These factors are embedded in economic, social and cultural changes that characterise the post-World War II development of late capitalism in the more developed economies. Each is itself the result of a set of complex processes of change. We do not attempt here to detail these changes in all their complexity but draw out those elements that are most important in attempting to understand the work-life issue in terms of causal forces, mediating support systems and the effects of work-life balance or 'imbalance' on individuals, households, communities and societies.

This issue of Labour and Industry brings together three papers that focus on different work-life balance issues as a result of differing causal forces, different configurations of work/life activities, varying outcomes and variations in terms of support available. In particular, the problem of work-life balance is examined through an analysis of change in attitudes to mothers working in Australia, a study of agency or labour hire, and a study of young professionals. These papers were first presented at the WorkTimes/LifeTimes Colloquium held in Geelong, Victoria in December 2004. The aim of this colloquium was to explore issues around working time and the impact that this has on other aspects of people's lives. Specialists in the area of working time, time use, employee relations, and work-family came together to share the results of their respective research areas and to debate the theoretical and policy implications of their findings.
Language eng
Field of Research 160805 Social Change
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, RMIT Publishing
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
Deakin Business School
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