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Part-time work and the career and life choices of the men from the work-sharing couples study
Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
2010 (English)In: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ISSN 2040-7149, E-ISSN 1758-7093, Vol. 29, no 6, 573-582 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose– This article outlines the longitudinal consequences for men who participated in the work‐sharing couples study which was a Norwegian, experimental research project in the early 1970s. The aim of the original project was to promote gender equality and a better work/life balance in families; the design involved both spouses working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework. This paper aims to present the results of a longitudinal follow‐up study of the participants in the work‐sharing couples study. In this paper the work‐sharing men's part‐time adaptations and the impact of the work‐sharing arrangement on their careers is the main focus.

Design/methodology/approach– The original project had a small scale, interventionist design based on couples working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework; effects were documented by questionnaires and time diaries. In the follow‐up study 30 years later, retrospective life‐course couple interviews with the original participants were used. The current paper is based on an analysis of the couple interviews with a particular focus on the men's careers.

Findings– Obtaining part‐time work was not difficult, and working part‐time was mostly uncomplicated for the men. Neither did their working part time for a substantial amount of time have negative career effects, and they were rather successful professionally. Their experiences as work sharers were mainly positively valued at their workplaces as adding to managerial skills. For those who did not have a managerial career, this was due to personal choice rather than any negative effect of working part‐time.

Practical implications– Changing men's adaptations to work and care is high on the agenda in family research as well as in policy making and the findings from this study contributes to new knowledge which is of interest in research as well as policy making.Originality/value– The original project was unique internationally, and so is the longitudinal follow‐up of this experiment. The work‐sharing men's part‐time adaptations and the longitudinal impact on their careers provide new and contra‐intuitive insights into the question of men, work and family.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 29, no 6, 573-582 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender, Part time workers, Norway, Quality of life, Equal opportunities, Family life
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37927DOI: 10.1108/02610151011067513OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-37927DiVA: diva2:757798
Available from: 2014-10-23 Created: 2014-10-23 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modern men: A Norwegian 30-year longitudinal study of intergenerational transmission and social change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modern men: A Norwegian 30-year longitudinal study of intergenerational transmission and social change
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The dissertation addresses men and change, intergenerational transmission, historical change and agency, employing as a case a longitudinal follow-up study over two generations of men, where the fathers participated in an experimental research project, the Work-Sharing Couples Project, which aimed to promote egalitarian work–family adaptations in Norway in the early 1970s. The original project was based on both spouses working part-time and shift parenting. The summary presents a multidimensional analysis of the work–family adaptations of the two generations of men: the untraditional adaptation of fathers in the 1970s; and the neo-traditional adaptations of sons in the 2000s. Their different work–family adaptations are discussed as situated agency, taking into account different aspects of time and space, personal biography, discursive and material structures of opportunity, and intergenerational dynamics at the family level as well as at social level.

The five articles present the empirical material: Bjørnholt (2009a) presents the impact on the couple relation and the family of the the parents’ work–sharing arrangement, concluding that the work-sharing arrangement was perceived by the participants to have been beneficial for their couple relationship as well as for the family as a whole. Bjørnholt (2011) explores the motivations of the work-sharing men to act as agents of change towards gender equality, concluding that personal biography, an authoritative way of being and new masculinity ideals, notably a partner- oriented masculinity, were important. Bjørnholt (2010b) analyses the consequences of the work-sharing arrangement on the work-sharing men’s careers, concluding that there were few negative career effects. They were rather successful, and their house-father experiences tended to be valued by employers as management skills. Bjørnholt (2009b) concludes that a father–son design is insufficient in explaining intergenerational transmission and Bjørnholt (2010c) finds that the untraditional work–family arrangement had not been passed on to sons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2014. 137 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Gender Research, 3
Keyword
fathering, intergenerational transmission, longitudinal qualitative research, masculinities, men, part-time, social change, work–family
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-34980 (URN)978-91-7529-027-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-10-09, Prismahuset, Hörsal 2, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-07 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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