Transitions to parenthood, flexible working and time-based work-to-family conflicts: A gendered life course and organisational change perspective
Keywords:parenthood, flexible working, work-to-family conflict, gendered life course, organisational culture, policy feedback
Objective: This study investigates how flexitime and flexiplace moderate the consequences of transitions to parenthood for time-based work-to-family conflicts for women and men, and whether the normalisation of their use in organisations additionally contributes to reducing work-to-family conflicts.
Background: Although flexible working has been described as a resource for better aligning demands in the domains of work and family, the findings of previous - mainly cross-sectional – research on its consequences for work–family conflict are inconsistent.
Method: Individual fixed effects analyses were conducted using linked employer-employee panel data for 1,973 partnered men and 1575 partnered women in 132 large work organisations in Germany.
Results: Time-based work-to-family conflicts after transition to parenthood increased for men but decreased for women. This can be explained by women reducing their working hours. However, work-to-family conflicts remained rather stable despite of the transition to parenthood among women who used flexitime. This can partly be explained by their weaker work-to-family conflicts already before the transition as well as to adjustments in work investments being less common among them. There is some evidence that the normalisation of flexitime and flexiplace in the organisation is associated with fewer work-to-family conflicts among women and men.
Conclusion: Flexitime seems to be not an additional but an alternative resource to decrease the likelihood of more frequent time-based work-to-family conflicts after transition to parenthood among women. The normalization of flexible working depicts organizational change towards more family-friendliness.
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