Moral Dimensions of the Work–Family Nexus

Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

Transformations in family and work life in the USA have led to widespread feelings of conflict between these two domains. The work–family literature, hamstrung by assumptions of narrow rational action and structural determinism, has largely overlooked the moral dimension of this conflict. In contrast, I argue that work and family institutions are potent sites of moral prescriptions, meanings, and emotions. I encourage a model of human action that recognizes ideological constraint: institutions define morally potent ends that motivate action. This model also recognizes more creativity, by which people use moral understandings to justify work–family situations and to interpret them as meaningful and honorable. I show how adopting a moral lens would help the work-family literature solve some empirical puzzles and add to our understanding of gender. Finally, I raise questions about how the work-family nexus articulates with axes of social inequality and broader ideologies of individualism.

References

  1. Ammons, S. K., and P. Edgell. 2007. “Religious Influences on Work-Family Trade-Offs.” Journal of Family Issues 28:794–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aries, P. 1962. Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bakker, A. B., and S. A. E. Geurts. 2004. “Toward a Dual-Proess Model of Work-Home Inteference.” Work and Occupations 31:345–366.Google Scholar
  4. Barley, S. R., and G. Kunda. 1992. “Design and Devotion: Surges of Rational and Normative Ideologies of Control in Managerial Discourse.” Administrative Science Quarterly 37:363–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker, G. S. 1981. A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Becker, P. E., and P. Moen. 1999. “Scaling Back: Dual-Earner Couples Work-Family Strategies.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 61:995–1007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bertrand, M., C. Goldin, and L. F. Katz. 2009. “Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Corporate and Financial Sectors.” Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bianchi, S. M., and S. B. Raley. 2005. “Time Allocation in Families.” PP. 21–42 in Work, Family, Health, and Well-Being, edited by S. M. Bianchi, L. M. Casper, and R. B. King. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  9. Bianchi, S. M., and M. A. Milkie. 2010. “Work and Family Research in the First Decade of the 21st Century.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 72:705–725.Google Scholar
  10. Bianchi, S. M., J. P. Robinson, and M. A. Milkie. 2006. Changing Rhythms of American Family Life. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Blair-Loy, M. 2003. Competing Devotions: Career and Family Among Women Financial Executives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Blair-Loy, M., and M. Frenkel. 2005. “Societal Cultural Models of Work and Family: An International Perspective.” In Work-Family Encyclopedia, edited by M. Pitt-Catsouphes and P. Raskin. Chestnut Hill, MA: Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College. http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/encyclopedia_template.php?id=1960
  13. Blair-Loy, M. 2010. “The Power and the Glory: Work Devotion and Masculinity among Executive Men.” Unpublished ms., Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  14. Blair-Loy, M., and G. DeHart. 2003. “Family and Career Trajectories among African American Female Attorneys.” Journal of Family Issues 24:908–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Blair-Loy, M., and A. Wharton. 2004a. “Organizational Commitment and Constraints on Work-Family Policy Use: Corporate Flexibity Policies in a Global Firm.” Sociological Perspectives 47:243–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Blair-Loy, M., and A. S. Wharton. 2004b. “Mothers in Finance: Surviving and Thriving.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 596:151–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Blair-Loy, M., and A. S. Wharton. 2002. “Employee’s Use of Work-Family Policies and the Workplace Social Context.” Social Force 80:813–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Blair-Loy, M., and E. Cech. 2009. “Demands and Devotion: Work-Family Overload-Imbalance among Women in Science and Technology Industries.”: Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  19. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009a. “Employment Characteristics of Families in 2008.” edited by Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 3, 2010. (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/famee_05272009.pdf).
  20. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009b. “Labor Force Participation of Mothers with Infants in 2008: The Editor’s Desk.” Retrieved August 3, 2009. (http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/may/wk4/art04.htm).
  21. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009c. “Employment and Married-Couple Families in 2008: The Editor’s Desk.” Retrieved August 3, 2010. (http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/may/wk4/art03.htm).
  22. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009d. “Table B-3: Employees on Nonfarm Payrolls by Major Industry Sector and Selected Industry Detail, Seasonally Adjusted.” Retrieved August 3, 2010. (http://ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb3.txt).
  23. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009e. “Table B-4: Women Employees on Nonfarm Payrolls by Major Industry Sector and Selected Industry Detail, Seasonally Adjusted.” Retrieved August 3, 2010. (http://ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb4.txt).
  24. Charles, M., and K. Bradley. 2009. “Indulging Our Gendered Selves? Sex Segregation by Field of Study in 44 Countries.” American Journal of Sociology 114:924–976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cohen, P., and S. M. Bianchi. 1999. “Marriage, Children and Women’s Employment: What do We Know?” Monthly Labor Review 122:22–30.Google Scholar
  26. Collins, P. H. 1987. “The Maternal Role: The Meaning of Motherhood in Black Culture.” Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women 4:3–10.Google Scholar
  27. Collins, P. H. 2001. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Correll, S. J., Stephen Benard, and In Paik. 2007. “Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty?” American Journal of Sociology 112:1297–1338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Cott, N. 1977. The Bonds of Motherhood: “Women’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Crittenden, A. 2001. The Price of Motherhood. NY: Henry Holt and Company.Google Scholar
  31. Dodson, L. 2009. The Moral Underground : How Oridnary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  32. Edgell, P., S. K. Ammons, and E. Dahlin. 2009. “Work and Family: How Race and Religion Shape Experiences of Sufficiency and Stability.” In Presentation to the Inequalities Workshop. Department of Sociology, UC San Diego.Google Scholar
  33. Espiritu, Y. L. 1997. “All Men Are Not Created Equal: Asian Men in U.S. History.” PP. 35–44 in In Men’s Lives, edited by M. S. Kimmel, and M. A. Messner. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  34. Espiritu, Y. L. 2000. “We Don’t Sleep Around Like White Girls Do: Family, Culture, and Gender in Filipina American Lives.” Signs 26:415–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., and A. E. Scharlach. 2001. Families and Work: New Directions in the Twenty-first Century. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Fried, M. 1998. Taking Time: Parental Leave Policy and Corprorate Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Galinsky, E., K. Aumann, and J. T. Bond. 2009. “2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce : Times are Changing: Gender and Generation at Work and at Home.” Families and Work Institute.Google Scholar
  38. Galinsky, E., J. T. Bond, and D. E. Friedman. 1996. “The Role of Employers in Addressing the Needs of Employed Parents.” Journal of Social Issues 52: 111–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gareis, K. C., and R. C. Barnett. 2000. “Reduced Hours Employment: The Relationship Between the Difficulty of Trade-Offs and the Quality of Life.” Work and Occupations 27:168–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gareis, K. C., and R. C. Barnett. 2002. “Under What Conditions Do Long Work Hours Affect Psychological Distress?” Work and Occupations 29:483–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Garey, A. 1999. Weaving Work and Motherhood. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Gerson, K. 2002. “Moral Dilemmas, Moral Strategies, the Transformation of Gender: Lessons From Two Generations of Work/Family Change.” Gender and Society 16:8–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Gerson, K. 2009. The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in America. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Glass, J. L. 2004. “Blessing or Curse? Family Responsive Policies and Mother’s Wage Growth over Time.” Work and Occupations 31:367–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Greenhaus, J. H., and G. N. Powell. 2006. “When Work and Family are Allies: A Theory of Work-Family Enrichment.” Academy of Management Review 31:72–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Grzywacz, J. G., and N. F. Marks. 2000. “Reconceptualizing the Work-Family Interface: An Ecological Perspective on the Correlates of Positive and Negative Spillover Between Work and Family.” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 5:11–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hagan, J., and F. Kay. 1995. Gender in Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Hartmann, H., and S. J. Rose. 2004. “Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap.” Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  49. Hays, S. 1996. The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Heimer, C. 2010. “Legal Systems and Moral Codes.” in Final Report on Morality Workshop, edited by S. Hitlin and J. Stets. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. In press.Google Scholar
  51. Heimer, C. A., and L. R. Staffen. 1998. For the Sake of the Children: The Social Organization of Responsibility in the Hospital and the Home Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  52. Hitlin, S. 2008. Moral Selves, Evil Selves, Social Psychology of Conscience. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.Google Scholar
  53. Hochschild, A. 1997. The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work. New York: Metropolitan Books.Google Scholar
  54. Hondagneu-Sotelo, P., and E. Avila 1997. “I’m Here, But I’m There”: The Meanings of Latina Transnational Motherhood.” Gender and Society 11:548–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hull, K. E., and R. L. Nelson. 2000. “Assimilation, Choice, or Constraint? Testing Careers of Gender Difference in the Careers of Lawyers.” Social Forces 79:229–264.Google Scholar
  56. Jackall, R. 1988. Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Jacobs, J. A., and K. Gerson. 2004. The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Kelly, E. L., E. E. Kossek, L. B. Hammer, M. Durham, J. Bray, K. Chermack, L. A. Murphy, and D. Kaskubar. 2008. “Getting There from Here: Research on the Effects of Work-Family Initiatives on Work-Family Conflict and Business Outcomes.” Academy of Management Annals 2:305–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kossek, E. E. 2005. “Workplace Policies and Practices to Support Work and Families.” In Work, Family, Health and Well-Being, edited by S. M. Bianchi, L. M. Casper, and R. B. King. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  60. McMahon, H. 1995. Engendering Motherhood: Identity and Transformation in Women’s Lives. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  61. Mennino, S. F., and A. Brayfield. 2002. “Job-family Trade-offs: The Multidimensional Effects of Gender.” Work and Occupations 29:226–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Messner, M. A. 2009. It’s All for the Kids: Gender, Families, and Youth Sports. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  63. Milkie, M. A., M. J. Mattingly, K. M. Nomaguchi, S. M. Bianchi, and J. P. Robinson. 2004. “The Time Squeeze: Parental Statuses and Feelings About Time With Children.” Journal of Marriage and Family 66 739–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Moen, P., and P. Roehling. 2005. The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  65. Neal, M. B., and L. B. Hammer. 2007. Working Couples Caring for Children and Aging Parents: Effects on Work and Well Being. Malwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Press.Google Scholar
  66. Perry-Jenkins, M., R. L. Repetti, and A. C. Crouter. (2000). “Work and Family in the 1990s.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62:981–998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rampell, C. 2009. “ As Layoffs Surge, Women May Pass Men in Job Force.” In New York Times.Google Scholar
  68. Reynolds, J. 2003. “You Can’t Always Get the Hours You Want: Mismatches between Actual and Preferred Work Hours in the U.S.” Social Forces 81:1171–1199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rothbard, N. P. 2001. “Enriching or Depleting? The Dynamics of Engagement in Work and Family Roles.” Administrative Science Quarterly 46:655–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schieman, S., P. Glavin, and M. A. Milkie. 2009. “When Work Interferes with Life: Work-Nonwork Interference and the Influence of Work-Related Demands and Resources.” American Sociological Review 74:966–988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Schnittker, J. 2007. “Working More and Feeling Better: Women’s Health, Employment, and Family Life, 1974–2004.”American Sociological Review 72:221–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Skolnick, A. 1991. Embattled Paradise: The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  73. Stone, P. 2007. Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  74. Swidler, A. 2001. Talk of Love: How Culture Matters. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  75. Swidler, A. 2008. “Comment on Stephen Vaisey’s ’socrates, Skinner, and Aristotle: Three Ways of Thinking About Culture in Action’.” Sociological Forum 2008 23:614–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Thompson, J. A., and J. Stuart Bunderson. 2001. “Work-Nonwork Conflict and the Phenomenology of Time.” Work and Occupations 28:17–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vaisey, S. 2008a. “Reply to Ann Swidler.” Sociological Forum 2008 23:619–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vaisey, S. 2008b. “Socrates, Skinner, and Aristotle: Three Ways of Thinking About Culture in Action.” Sociological Forum 2008 23:603–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Voydanoff, P. 1995. “Work Role Characteristics, Family Structure Demands, and Work/Family Conflict.” PP. 51–61 in The Work and Family Interface: Toward a Contextual Effects Perspective, edited by G. B. J. Pittman. Minneapolis: National Council on Family Relations.Google Scholar
  80. Voydanoff, P. 2004. “The Effects of Work Demands and Resources on Work-to-Family Conflict and Facilitation.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 66:398–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Weber, M. 1976. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by T. Parsons. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  82. Weber, M. 1981 (1946). “Science as a Vocation.” In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited by H. H. Gerth, and C. W. Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Weiner, L. Y. 1985. From Working Girl to Working Mother: The Female Labor Force in the United States, 1820–1980. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  84. Wharton, A. S., S. Chivers, and M. Blair-Loy. 2008. “Use of Formal and Informal Work-Family Policies on the Digital Assembly Line.” Work and Occupations 35:327–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wharton, A. S., and M. Blair-Loy. 2002. “The ‘Overtime Culture’ in a Global Corporation: A Cross National Study of Finance Professional’s Interest in Working Part-time.” Work and Occupations 29:32–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wharton, A. S., and M. Blair-Loy. 2006. “Long Work Hours and Family Life: A Cross National Study of Employees’ Concerns.” Journal of Family Issues 27:415–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Williams, J. 2000. Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do about It. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  88. Zelizer, V. A. 1985. Pricing the Priceless Child. New York: Basic.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations