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Putting the work-life interface into a temporal context: an empirical study of work-life balance by life stage and the consequences of homeworking

Canonico, Esther (2016) Putting the work-life interface into a temporal context: an empirical study of work-life balance by life stage and the consequences of homeworking. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Although past research suggests that life stage is an important consideration in the work-life interface, a life stage approach in the work-life literature is uncommon and mostly focused on the negative side (work-life conflict) of the interface. Accordingly, this dissertation presents a quantitative study (N=507) that integrates conflict and enrichment into work-life balance by life stage. Drawing on work-life theories (e.g., role scarcity) and life course research, it extends extant knowledge by confirming that work-life balance differs by life stage but not as expected. Employees in the early life stage (rather than those in later stages) had the most beneficial work-life balance. Understanding work-life balance differences by life stage may also help organisations to craft more targeted policies and practices for their employees. This dissertation examines further work-life issues by focusing on the effects of homeworking. It includes a qualitative study (N=40), supported by quantitative data (N=514), that explores the situation when homeworking is perceived differently by the employee and the employer. Based on Employee-Organisation Relationship (EOR) concepts (such as Perceived Organisational Support) and an extension of an inducements-contributions model, this dissertation contributes to the EOR literature by integrating employee and employer's perspectives and suggesting that differences in perceptions may produce adverse outcomes, such as employees not meeting their employer's expected contribution. This thesis also explores the role of homeworking in the organisational culture-climate alignment using a multi-model framework of organisational culture-climate. It provides a detailed contextual explanation of the potential adverse impact of homeworking on the organisation with a mixed methods approach. Findings reveal that homeworking may cause tension in the cultureclimate relationship and negatively affect organisational performance. These results contribute to the organisational culture and climate literature and the on-going debate over the consequences of homeworking, and provide a practical illustration of homeworking’s potential drawbacks.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Esther Canonico
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Coyle-Shapiro, Jacqueline A-M.

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