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Family Friendliness: Challenging the Boundaries of Organizations

abstract In this paper we focus on the consequences that emerge for organizations when they attempt to implement value-laden concepts such as „family friendliness“. Such new concepts are often taken on board without realising how fundamentally the structure of the organization will be questioned if they are taken seriously.

Family friendliness is a concept aimed at balancing work and family demands in organizations, allowing one person to raise children as well as to have a demanding career. To achieve this aim, programs such as job sharing or child care centres are increasingly introduced. Contrary to expectations, employees do not seem to take advantage of these as often as one might expect. How can we understand this? Although women no longer question their active role in work life, still they are seen as responsible for the reproductive work, while men are the breadwinners. The dichotomy between paid and reproductive work is yet evident. Obviously underlying discourses from the times of industrialization are still at work in the age of globalization.

In order to bring family friendliness to life in organizations one has to tackle the issue of resolving the described dichotomy. This would for example mean questioning the traditional career paths, which today are designed for the role of the breadwinner. One will have to make concerted attempts to rewrite these discourses. Consequently a new trend like family friendliness poses a far greater challenge to organizations than the simple introduction of job sharing or child care centers.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords
   
project Familienfreundlichkeit in Organisationen
date of conference 16-5-2001
review blind review
   
citation Nentwich, J. C., & Resch, D. (2001). Family Friendliness: Challenging the Boundaries of Organizations. In .