E-technology and work/life balance for academics with young children

Abstract

Since the late 1980s, research on post-industrialized economies shows that the boundary between work and family is increasingly becoming blurred. The continuing evolution of e-technology allows work for some to be done anywhere, anytime. This article examines the degree to which e-technology has transferred work into the home lives of academics and how this has affected their work/life balance. Drawing on a study in an Australian university of academics with young children, we utilise the terms ‘work extensification’ and ‘work intensification’ to explore whether these new technologies are a blessing or a curse in their work lives. At the same time we describe the deteriorating working conditions for Australian academics whose work has intensified and extended into their private lives with longer working hours in a speeded up environment. Our findings revealed the use of metaphors such as invasion and intrusion of e-technologies into academics’ homes and their need to establish boundaries to separate work and family life. Most felt that having e-technologies at home was of benefit to their work but they came at a cost to their family life—delivering a blessing and a curse.

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Correspondence to Jan Currie.

Additional information

Associate Professor Joan Eveline died in 2009. She contributed to all stages of the research and to writing this paper, which Professor Currie has updated to submit to this journal.

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Currie, J., Eveline, J. E-technology and work/life balance for academics with young children. High Educ 62, 533–550 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-010-9404-9

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Keywords

  • Academics
  • E-technology
  • Work/life balance
  • Universities