Are Familiy Friendly Policies (FFP) a challenge for organisational structures or just a 'play around the margins'?


Essay, 2012
19 Pages, Grade: 1

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENT

1. INTRODUCTION

2. DETERMINE KEY TERMINOLOGY
2.1 ORGANISATION’S CULTURE AND STRUCTURE
2.2 WORK-FAMILY CONFLICT
2.3 FAMILY FRIENDLY POLICIES

3. LEGAL SITUATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

4. FAMILY FRIENDLY POLICIES IN ORGANISATIONS
4.1 ACCEPTANCE OF FAMILY FRIENDLY POLICIES BY EMPLOYEES
4.2 OBSTACLE TO FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE WITHIN ORGANISATIONS

5. POTENTIAL METHODS OF RESOLUTION

6. CONCLUSION

REFERENCE LIST

1. INTRODUCTION

“We want to encourage more family-friendly employment” (Tony Blair, 1998 cited in Budd and Mumford, 2006).

Erstwhile, men were considered as the family breadwinners and women as the homemakers. These assumptions were deep seated and were still considered as apposite even some decades ago (Allard, Haas and Hwang, 2011) and were fostered by renowned scholars that found that work and family life could be regarded as separate spheres (Kanter, 1977). Yet, it is widely accepted that work and family life influence each other in both directions (Frone, Russell and Cooper, 1992), that spill over happens between the spheres (Boles, Johnston and Hair, 1997), and that the spheres either overlap or interact with each other (Barnett, 1999). Moreover, the research to date has tended to focus on the mothers and fathers having the same requirements to balance their work and family needs in their daily lives (Van der Lippe, Jager and Kops, 2006). Although, there have been seen substantial changes in gender equality on the labour market, there is still a gender gap prevailing in wages and women’s representation in positions with responsibility (Vandeweyer and Glorieux, 2008; Wilton and Purcell, 2010). Albeit, men perform more housework and childcare than they did in the past, the dispersal of paid and unpaid work is still strongly gender- based (Gershuny, Bittman and Brice, 2005; Sayer, 2005). Further, men tend to work longer hours, have more prestigious positions in companies and earn more money than women do which leads to the result that men and women have different economic opportunities and constraints (Wilton, 2007). Accessorily, it has conclusively been shown that women still do more adjusting than men do in regards to family matters and that men still prioritise paid labour over family (Braid and Reynolds, 2004; Maume, 2006). However, fathers, who’d like to engage more in family matters, simply felt being discriminated by organisational cultures (Holter, 2007).

Taken together these findings, it seems appropriate to appraise whether the existing Family Friendly Policies (FFP) are fundamentally challenging the organisational structures and cultures or whether the implemented policies are merely “playing about at the margins (Lewis, 1997)”.

2. DETERMINE KEY TERMINOLOGY

In order to critically evaluate the assumption that the FFP are not challenging organisational structure and cultures, it seems adequate to define some key terms.

2.1 ORGANISATION’S CULTURE AND STRUCTURE

One of the most significant academics in the field of analysing culture in a broader sense and also analyzing organisation’s culture is Geert Hofstede. He defines culture as “ the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another ” (Hofstede, 1991, p.262). Furthermore, he sets forth by saying that Culture is learned and won’t be inherited. As management and organisation operate in a distinct area and it is about people, they have to deal with the culture of the society where it takes place. The core element in culture is value. Hofstede describes value as "broad tendencies to prefer certain states of affairs over others ” (2007, p.413). The key problem with Hofstede’s explanation is that culture is something that is not easily exchangeable but as the emphasis is on values, companies can strive to create an atmosphere where an high extend of moral and ethics values are much appreciated. Lewis and Taylor (1996, p. 112), however, describe the organisational cultures as “ grounded in deep-seated believes about gender, the nature of work and the ideal employee, which reflect societal norms and are often implicit or even unconscious and are therefore difficult to challenge ”.

Both scholars emphasised the fact that culture is hard to challenge because culture is deep ingrained in people’s believes and therefore organisations who tend to change corporate culture are faced enormous resilience within companies. Take for example the prevailing opinion in corporations that working long hours proves employee’s commitment. This can be characterised as a corporate culture, which at the same time creates conflict for employees that have to balance work and family (Lewis, 1997). To circumvent these suppositions, corporations need to make huge efforts in order to create a culture that accepts and values colleagues that balance family and work and that these groups are limited in respect to working long hours. A key cultural concern which appeared, is the existence in organisations of the so called ‘ideal worker type’ (Bailyn, 1993; Lewis, 1997; Rapoport et al., 2002), which is referred to be a gendered construction that “embodies assumptions about competence that value stereotypical masculine ways of working ” (Rapoport et al. cited in Callan, 2007, p.676). They set forth by stating, that these assumptions are based on the ideology of separate, gendered spheres; which are the public sphere of work as a man’s world and the private sphere of the family as women’s domain and responsibility (Rapoport et al., 2002). This obsolescent notion is characterised by essentially male patterns of work that imply that employees are constantly putting work over family issues owing to the fact that there are no other areas of their lives that might be in conflict with paid labour (Finch, 1983). This reflects what Acker (1998) names the privileging and non- responsibility of organisations. Furthermore, the notion of ‘job’ is, hence, implicitly a gendered concept, although, organisational logic demonstrates it as gender neutral (Acker, 1990).

According to Hill (2011, p.433) the idea of organisational structure can be divided in to three parts:

“ First, the formal division of the organization into subunits such as product divisions, national operations, and functions; second, the location of decision-making responsibilities within that structure; and third, the establishment of integrating mechanism to coordinate the activities of subunits including cross-functional teams and pan-regional committees ” .

Typically, organisation structure also describes the way one organisation is ruled that means for example how is the firm composed meaning the different types of hierarchy. This can be differentiated in terms of organisations that have a functional structure, divisional structure or a matrix structure (Hill, 2011, pp.433-444). Different types of organisational structures may promote parents to balance work and families issues and others are not going to supportive by implementing FFP.

2.2 WORK-FAMILY CONFLICT

Greenhaus and Beutell have discussed the concept of Work-Family Conflicts, while they define Work-family conflict “as an interrole conflict which appears when the requirements of one role make it difficult for an individual to fulfil the requirements of the other role ” (1985, p.77). A considerable amount of literature has been published on Work-Family Conflicts. These studies indicate that Work-Family Conflict has negative effects on individuals as well as on organisations (Frone, Russel and Cooper, 1997;

Parasuraman et al., 1996). Furthermore, it has been fathomed that these conflicts also increases absenteeism that might cause distinct problems for organisations in regards to their operation, targets and profits (Boyar, Maertz and Pearson, 2005). In order to overcome these constraints some individuals sought to reach an acceptable level of work-family balance. However, this causes challenges for individuals and for organisations alike (Lockwood, 2003). On the one hand, individuals have to distinguish between work-related and family-related requirements, whereas on the other hand, organisations have to create a supportive culture in which employees can focus on their jobs once they are in the office. Thus, man corporations have implemented FFP in order to lower work-family conflict (Lockwood, 2003).

2.3 FAMILY FRIENDLY POLICIES

FFP include a wide range of opportunities to balance work and family matters. These policies may enfold “arrangements to assist women in juggling family responsibilities and paid work, such as childcare provision, enhanced maternity provision, career break schemes, flexible hours of work, and job share schemes ” (Kirton and Greene, 2005).

Family Friendly Policies can be defined as “terms and conditions aimed primarily at facilitating women ’ s participation in employment, and these are popular in both the public and the private sector. ” (Kirton and Greene, 2005, p.210).

[...]

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Details

Title
Are Familiy Friendly Policies (FFP) a challenge for organisational structures or just a 'play around the margins'?
College
Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh  (School of Language and Management)
Grade
1
Author
Year
2012
Pages
19
Catalog Number
V192531
ISBN (eBook)
9783656175537
ISBN (Book)
9783656175643
File size
509 KB
Language
English
Notes
Tags
FFP, Work Life Balance, UK, Family Friendly Polic, Family Friendly Policy
Quote paper
Sebastian Kress (Author), 2012, Are Familiy Friendly Policies (FFP) a challenge for organisational structures or just a 'play around the margins'?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/192531

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