Work/Family Reconciliation: Corporate Management, Family Policies, and Gender Equality in the Finnish Context

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/28133
Title: Work/Family Reconciliation: Corporate Management, Family Policies, and Gender Equality in the Finnish Context
Author: Niemistö, Charlotta
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 236
ISSN: 0424-7256
ISBN: 978-952-232-148-0
Abstract: Work/family reconciliation is a crucial question for both personal well-being and on societal level for productivity and re-production throughout the Western world. This thesis examines work/family reconciliation on societal and organisational level in the Finnish context. The study is based on an initial framework, developing it further and analysing the results with help of it. The methodology of the study is plural, including varying epistemological emphasis and both quantitative and qualitative methods. Policy analysis from two different sectors is followed by a survey answered by 113 HR-managers, and then, based on quantitative analyses, interviews in four chosen case companies. The central findings of the thesis are that there indeed are written corporate level policies for reconciling work and family in companies operating in Finland, in spite of the strong state level involvement in creating a policy context in work/family reconciliation. Also, the existing policies vary in accessibility and use. The most frequently used work/family policies still are the statutory state level policies for family leave, taking place when a baby is born and during his or her first years. Still, there are new policies arising, such as a nurse for an employee’s child who has fallen ill, that are based on company activity only, which shows in both accessibility and use of the policy. Reasons for developing corporate level work/family policies vary among the so-called pro-active and re-active companies. In general, family law has a substantial effect for developing corporate level policies. Also headquarter gender equality strategies as well as employee demands are important. In regression analyses, it was found that corporate image and importance in recruitment are the foremost reasons for companies to develop policies, not for example the amount of female employees in the company. The reasons for policy development can be summarized into normative pressures, coercive pressures and mimetic pressures, in line with findings from institutional theory. This research, however, includes awareness of different stakeholder interests and recognizes that institutional theory needs to be complemented with notions of gender and family, which seem to play a part in perceived work/family conflict and need for further work/family policies both in managers’ personal lives and on the organisational level. A very central finding, demanding more attention, is the by HR managers perceived change in values towards work and commitment towards organisation at the youngest working generation, Generation Y. This combined with the need for key personnel has brought new challenges to companies especially in knowledge business and will presumably lead to further development of flexible practices in organisations. The accessibility to this flexibility seems to, however, be even more dependent on the specific knowledge and skills of the employee. How this generation will change the organisations remains to be seen in further research.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/28133
Date: 2011-11-04
Subject: work/family reconciliation
work-life balance
work/family policies
family friendly policies
corporate management
family policies
gender equality


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