Friday, March 12, 2010

Work-Family Overload-Imbalance among Women in Science and Technology


University of California, San Diego
Demands and Devotion : Work-Family Overload-Imbalance among Women in Science and Technology Industries
Monday, 15 March 2010, 2-3:30 p.m.
Blumer Room, 402 Barrows Hall

Feelings of overwork and work-to-home conflict are pervasive, particularly among professional women. Previous quantitative studies have measured the effects of structural work and family conditions on these outcomes but have neglected the influence of cultural meanings. Qualitative research on the meaning of work has not assessed its effect on overwork and conflict while controlling for structural factors. This quantitative paper investigates the effect of the “work devotion schema”—a cultural model that assumes employees will manifest intense career commitment and organizational dedication – on overload-imbalance. Using an exemplar case of senior women in science and related fields, the authors find that professionals who embrace work devotion feel less overload-imbalance than those who reject it, net of structural conditions of work and family. This finding is consistent with the authors’ theoretical argument: By specifying cognitively, morally, and emotionally framing work as a valued end, the work devotion schema renders the means of work as justified and thereby reduce feelings of overload-imbalance. However, the association of work devotion with reduced overload-imbalance is curtailed for mothers of young and school aged children. The paper assesses competing explanations and concludes by discussing implications for gender inequality.

Mary Blair-Loy is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego.

No comments:

Post a Comment