Advertisement

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 207–234 | Cite as

Practices of Dual Earner Couples Successfully Balancing Work and Family

  • Shelley A. HaddockEmail author
  • Toni Schindler Zimmerman
  • Kevin P. Lyness
  • Scott J. Ziemba
Article

ABSTRACT

Researchers have long explored conflict and strain in dual-career couples. Recently, the focus has begun to shift toward documenting the adaptive strategies of dual-earner couples in balancing family and work. The current study investigates workplace practices perceived as supportive in balancing work and family. Respondents were middle-class, dual-earner couples (N=47) who described themselves as successful in balancing family and work. These supportive practices include: flexible work scheduling, non-traditional work hours, professional/job autonomy, working from home, supportive supervisors, supportive colleagues and supervisees, and the ability to set firm boundaries around work. Additionally, many participants describe their efforts to actively secure employment at workplaces that offered family–friendly alternatives, and describe the tradeoffs they are willing to make.

Keywords

couples, dual-earner, opportunity costs, tradeoffs, work-family balance 

References

  1. Bond J. T., Galinsky E., Swanberg J. E. (1998). The 1997 national study of the changing workforce New York, Families and Work InstituteGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen G. L. (1998). Effects of leader support in the work unit on the relationship between work spillover and family adaptation Journal of Family and Economic Issues 19(1): 25–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Christensen K. E., Staines G. L. (1990). Flextime: A viable solution to work/family conflict? Journal of Family Issues 11:455–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coontz S. (1992). The way we never were: American families and the nostalgia trap New York, Basic BooksGoogle Scholar
  5. Creswell J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design Thousand Oaks, CA, SageGoogle Scholar
  6. Deitch C. H., Huffman M. L. (2001). Family-responsive benefits and the two-tiered labor market In: Hertz R., Marshall N. L. (eds), Working Families: The transformation of the American home. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, pp. 103–130Google Scholar
  7. Demo D. H., Acock A. C. (1993). Family diversity and the division of domestic labor: How much have things really changed? Family Relations 42: 323–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ezra M., Deckman M. (1996). Balancing work and family responsibilities: Flextime and child care in the Federal Government Public Administration Review 56: 174–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Friedman S. D., Galinsky E. (1992). Work and family issues: A legitimate business concern In: Zedeck S. (eds) Work, families, and organizations Frontiers of industrial and organizational psychology (vol 5). New York, Jossey-Bass, pp. 168–207Google Scholar
  10. Friedman S. D., Greehaus J. H. (2000). Work and family—Allies or enemies? New York, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  11. Galambos N. L., Walters B. J. (1992). Work hours, schedule inflexibility, and stress in dual-earner spouses Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 24: 290–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Galinsky E. (1999). Ask the children: What America’s children really think about working parents New York, William MorrowGoogle Scholar
  13. Galinsky E., Bond J. T., Friedman D. E. (1996). The role of employers in addressing the needs of employed parents Journal of Social Issues 52: 111–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Galinsky E., Stein P. J. (1990). The impact of human resource policies on employees: Balancing work/family life Journal of Family Issues 11: 368–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gerson K., Jacobs J. A. (2001). Changing the structure and culture of work: work and family conflict, work flexibility, and gender equity in the modern workplace In: Hertz R., Marshall N. L. (eds), Working families: The transformation of the American home. Berkeley, CA, University of California Press, pp. 207–226Google Scholar
  16. Gonyea J. G., Googins B. K. (1996). The restructuring of work and family in the United States: A new challenge for American corporations In: Lewis S., Lewis J. (eds), The work-family challenge: Rethinking employment. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, pp. 63–78Google Scholar
  17. Gottman J. M. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientifically-based marital therapy New York, NortonGoogle Scholar
  18. Greenberger E., Goldberg W. A., Hamill S., O’Neil R., Payne C. K. (1989). Contributions of a supportive work environment to parents’ well-being and orientation to work American Journal of Community Psychology 17: 755–783CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Greenhaus J. H. (1989). The intersection of work and family roles: Individual, interpersonal, and organizational issues In: Goldsmith E. B. (eds), Work and family: Theory, research, and application. Newbury Park, CA, Sage, pp. 23–44Google Scholar
  20. Haddock S. A., Zimmerman T. S., Ziemba S., Current L. (2001). Ten adaptive strategies for work and family balance: Advice from successful dual earners Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 27: 445–458PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hall D. T. (1990). Promoting work-family balance: An organizational-change approach Organizational Dynamics 18: 5–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hayghe H. V. (1990). Family members in the work force Monthly Labor Review 113(3): 14–19Google Scholar
  23. Hochschild A., Machung A. (1989). The second shift: Working parents and the revolution at home New York, VikingGoogle Scholar
  24. Holt H., Thaulow I. (1996). Formal and informal flexibility in the workplace In: Lewis S., Lewis J. (eds), The work-family challenge: Rethinking employment. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, pp. 79–92Google Scholar
  25. Kingston P. W. (1989). Studying the work-family connection: Atheoretical progress, ideological bias, and shaky foundations for policy In: Goldsmith E. B. (eds), Work and family: Theory, research, and applications. Newbury Park, CA, Sage, pp. 55–60Google Scholar
  26. Kropf M. B. (1997). A research perspective on work-family issues In: Parasuraman S., Greenhaus J. H. (eds) Integrating work and family: Challenges and choices for a changing world. Westport, CT, Quorum, pp. 69–76Google Scholar
  27. Levner L. (2000). The three-career family In: Papp P. (eds), Couples on the fault line: New directors for therapists. New York, Guilford, pp. 29–47Google Scholar
  28. Lewis S., Lewis J. (1996). Rethinking employment: A partnership approach In: Lewis S., Lewis J. (eds) The work-family challenge: Rethinking employment. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, pp. 159–168Google Scholar
  29. MacDermid S. M., Targ D. B. (1995). A call for greater attention to the role of employers in developing, transforming, and implementing family policies Journal of Family and Economic Issues 16(1): 145–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McGoldrick M. (1999). Women and the family life cycle In: Carter B., McGoldrick M. (eds) The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives (3). Boston, MA, Allyn & Bacon, pp. 106–123Google Scholar
  31. Marshall N. L., Barnett R. C. (1994). Family–friendly workplaces, work-family interface, and worker health In: Keeta G. P., Hurrell J. J. (eds) Job stress in a changing workforce: Investigating gender, diversity, and family issues. Washington, DC, APA, pp. 253–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Muhr T. (1997). ATLAS.ti Berlin:Germany, Scientific Software DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
  33. Perry-Jenkins M., Repetti R. L., Crouter A. C. (2000). Work and family in the 1990s Journal of Marriage & Family 62: 981–999CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pleck J. H. (1993). Are “family-supportive” employer policies relevant to men? In: Hood J. C. (eds), Men, work, and family: Research on men and masculinities. Newbury Park, CA, Sage, pp. 217–237Google Scholar
  35. Schwartz F. N., Zimmerman J. (1992). Breaking with tradition: Women and work, the new facts of life New York, WarnerGoogle Scholar
  36. Shelton B. A., John D. (1993). Does marital status make a difference? Housework among married and cohabiting men and women Journal of Family Issues 14: 401–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Strauss A., Corbin J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques Thousand Oaks, CA, SageGoogle Scholar
  38. Swiss D. J., Walker J. P. (1993). Women and the work/family dilemma: How today’s professional women are finding solutions New York, WileyGoogle Scholar
  39. Thomas L. T., Ganster D. C. (1995). Impact of family-supportive work variables on work-family conflict and strain: A control perspective Journal of Applied Psychology 80: 6–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1999). Statistical abstract of the United States Washington, DC, Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  41. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2001). Little progress on closing wage gap in 2000. (Current Population Survey) Washington, DC: Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  42. Voydanoff P. (1989). Work and family: A review and expanded conceptualization In: Goldsmith E. B. (eds) Work and family: Theory, research, and applications. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, pp. 1–22Google Scholar
  43. Wallerstein J. S., Blakeslee S. (1995). The good marriage: How and why love lasts New York, Houghton MifflinGoogle Scholar
  44. Walsh F. (1999). Families in later life: Challenges and opportunities. In: Carter B., McGoldrick M. (eds) The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives. (3) Boston, MA, Allyn & Bacon, pp. 307–326Google Scholar
  45. Warren J. A., Johnson P. J. (1995). The impact of workplace support on work-family role strain Family Relations 44: 163–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Williams J. (2000). Unbending gender: Why family and work conflict and what to do about it New York, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelley A. Haddock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Toni Schindler Zimmerman
    • 1
  • Kevin P. Lyness
    • 2
  • Scott J. Ziemba
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Development and Family Studies DepartmentColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied PsychologyAntioch New England Graduate SchoolKeeneUSA

Personalised recommendations