Lookup NU author(s): Professor Al James
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The everyday challenges faced by workers ‘struggling to juggle’ competing commitments of paid work, home and family remain stubbornly persistent and highly gendered. Reinforcing these problems, many employers regard work–life balance (WLB) provision as too costly. In response, this paper explores the learning and innovation advantages that can result from WLB provision in knowledge-intensive firms, as part of a WLB ‘mutual gains’ research agenda. These synergies are explored through a case study of IT workers and firms in two high-tech regional economies — Dublin, Ireland and Cambridge, UK — prior to (2006–8) and subsequent to (2010) the economic downturn. The results suggest that by making available the kinds of WLB arrangements identified by workers as offering meaningful reductions in gendered work–life conflicts, employers can also enhance the learning and innovation processes within and between firms, which are widely recognized as fundamental for firms' long-term sustainable competitive advantage.
Author(s): James A
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Gender, Work and Organization
Print publication date: 01/05/2014
Online publication date: 13/12/2013
Acceptance date: 25/09/2013
ISSN (print): 0968-6673
ISSN (electronic): 1468-0432
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Notes: Paper nominated for 2015 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research
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