Subjugation of work life balance policies to pressures of work


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Dr. Awais e Siraj Managing Director Genzee Solutions, A Strategy, Balanced Scorecard, Scenario Planning, Competency Based Human Resource Management Consulting Company

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Subjugation of work life balance policies to pressures of work

  1. 1. Subjugation of Work-Life Balance Policies to Pressures of Work Dr. Awais e Siraj Managing Director/CEO Genzee Solutions, Islamabad, PakistanAbstract:This paper has critically looked at the changing patterns of work in the last few decadesspecifically considering the ‘non-standard’ and contractual nature of jobs leading tomajor shifts in the skills requirement, growing levels of job insecurity, patterns ofemployee resistance and intensification of labor and concludes that despite theincreasing interest in the practices and policies of “work-life” balance, there is conflictingevidence to conclusively demonstrate that the pressures of work are so great that work-life balance policies will inevitably fail to deliver.Introduction:The fundamental causes of change in the world and more specifically in the UK havebeen the rising levels of life expectancy, mortality rates, birth rates and migrationwhereby the population of UK alone rose from 38 million in the year 1900 to 59 million in2000. (CLMS: 2006) Likewise the labor market of the early decades of twentieth centurymarked by ‘standard’ connotations of fixed location, time specificity, and open endednature changed to ‘non-standard’ connotations of self – employment, flexi – working,franchising, outsourcing, home-working and sub contracting. These changes startedfrom the simple traditional factors whereby a vacancy had to be filled temporarily in theabsence of an employee on holiday, sick leave or maternity leave. Later on, bowing tothe increasing demand of employees to take up non-standard and flexible workresponsibilities, employers gave it a serious thought and incorporated the same intotheir systems. This was eventually followed by market flexibility induced by marketuncertainty.Defining Work – Life Balance:Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) once remarked, "Why is it that I always getthe whole person when what I really want is a pair of hands?" Employment may beregarded as the ownership on an employee’s time and presence by the employer for acertain number of hours of part of the day. (Harvey, 1999; Felstead and Jewson, 1999)But since people are different from machines, the boundaries between work and non-work times remain indistinguishable and the spill-over effect is a common phenomenon.Many attempts have been made to keep the life and work separate from one anothersome of which have been partly successful. In societies where labor markets generate
  2. 2. and distribute income, the relationship between spaces of work and non work andinstitutional and cultural times is defined as work-life balance. (Felstead et al, 2002)Work – Life Balance Practices and Policies:Work – life balance may also be defined as practices that enhance the independence ofworkers to synchronize, coordinate and integrate work and non work facets of their livesduring employment and non-employment times. The core philosophy is that the workersshould be able to relate periods of work and non-work between short and long intervalsi.e. the breakup of number of hours in a day as well as the breakup of days in a year.Work – life balance practices must enable the workers to improve autonomy andflexibility in order to allocate full attention to work while they are attending toemployment. A small number of workers consider work and life as separate entities andtherefore balanceable. For a majority, life and work are amalgamated and intertwinedand this indistinguishable and inseparable from one another. (Eikhof and Haunschild,2006) The underlying premise of all discussions is that employees have too much workand long working hours. (IDS 2000) The management practices that explicitly recognizework-life balance practices and incorporate them into their systems in order to improveprofitability and productivity of organization are work-life balance policies.The history of work-life balance policies started with labor market trends made it difficultto working parents to strike a balance between family responsibilities and workcommitments. (CLMS 2006) The classical pattern of families in UK comprises of a full –time working father and a part – time working mother. The percentage of workingmothers with a child under five years of age rose from 43% in 1999 to 54% in 2001whereas no change was seen in the employment rates of fathers. (Dex, 2003) Morethan half of mothers and a majority of fathers (79%) were found to be working outsidethe routine office hours of 9 to 5. More than half of fathers and more than one third ofmothers work on at least one Sunday in a calendar month. (La Valle et al., 2002)Despite the Working Time Directive 6% mothers and 30% fathers cross the limit of 48hours work week and over half of fathers and 13% of mothers work more than 40 hoursa week. Self employment together with atypical and long working hours, and weekendworking is a distinguishing phenomenon in 16% fathers and 8% mothers withdependent children. (Bell and La Valle; 2003)The percentage of “model employers” in the UK till 1996 was approximately 5. The term‘model employers’ was designated to those who provided a family friendly atmosphereto their employees through paternity leaves, extra-statutory maternity leaves, anarrangement for non-standard form of work and childcare facilities. (Forth et al. 1997:195) However these practices were more prevalent in public sector organizations and
  3. 3. large organizations. The demand or desire for flexi hours from employees roseconsiderably between 1996 and 2000. (Hogarth et al. 2000: 16-17)There are differing interests between employees and employers on the family friendlyemployment policy. While employees wish for flexible working hours, non-standardforms of work, paid leaves etc. etc., employers try to off-set the cost benefit of all thesefacilities. (Holtermann, 1995; Scheibl and Dex, 1998) The private sector employers,already pushed by the effects of globalization and competitiveness to keep a closewatch on the bottom line profits, find it difficult to justify the cost of disruption caused bytemporary reduction in productivity caused by absent colleagues and extra expenditureson these family friendly policies. Moreover, they find it hard to justify the reduced level ofinput to those who are not covered by such arrangements leading to resentments withinthe team. It is difficult to compare the cost benefit ratio of such arrangements before andafter effecting these policies but some organizations in the UK have made their beforeand after benefits public. Organizations like Asda, Chubb Group, National WestminsterBank and Abbey National have reported and publicized that they have benefited fromthese policies in terms of increased retention, reduced sickness and boosted moralethus challenging the notion of a net loss through such activities. However, much moredata is awaited to reach a definitive conclusion.In a landmark study done by Dex (2003), it has been revealed that father and mothersput family life at the center of their attention. There are challenges at all levels, startingfrom a little change in school time – tables of their children to changes in working hoursand changes in geographical locations of work, each one exerting a pressure of its ownkind on the parents. This, augmented by the shift towards atypical work has forcedfamilies to take some drastic decisions about their personal and family life by eithermoving to part time work or self employment. Some families have moved to convenientgeographical locations in order to adjust to these changes.The Pressures of WorkThe levels of occupational stress are increasing and work is intensifying. The impact ofwork life pressures into domestic and family environment demonstrates itself in theshape of exhaustion, stress and sleepless nights. (Hyman et al. 2003) The pressures ofwork on employees are immense despite the repeated expression of the government toprovide opportunities for the employees to balance their personal life alongside worklife. (CLMS 2006)The following key factors have been identified by researchers to be biggest source ofwork pressures:
  4. 4. Non-Standard EmploymentAlthough many positive connotations have been associated with the non standard formemployment, noteworthy among them being flexibility, creativity, positive response tochange and innovation, the list of negative connotations is equally long and strong. Nonstandard form of employment is also associated with high turnover, insecurity, coercivemanagement, lowest wage rates, inconvenient and unsocial working hours andintensified labor processes. (Felstead and Jewson: 1999) Evidence suggests that youngworkers, women with dependent children, near retirement people and those from ethnicminorities are more likely to be in non-standard jobs. (Dex and McCulloch, 1995:Blossfield and Hakim, 1997) However some consider non standard work a blessingbecause they can enjoy work as well as family. (Watson and Fothergill 1993) However,majority of them were women with children who could thus find time to attend to familyas well as make some extra money.The critical pressures for choosing between standard and non-standard works andworkforce have always been emanating from the strategy of organizations to remaininternationally competitive through flexibility, agility, subcontracting, niche marketing,franchising or networking. Felstead and Jewson argue that it is the strategy whetherdeliberate (Hunter et Al 1993) or emergent (Procter et al 1994) that decides which formof work to choose for employees in order to remain competitive and profitable. Non –standard form of work is also influenced by social process (Lane 1989) and economicdevelopment and could be one of the ways of mobilizing cheap labor for rapid economicgrowth necessary for globalization. Therefore the root of pressure on workers tobecome a victim of non-standard form of work has its origins in globalization,managerial decisions, society and economy.Another element of pressure on the employees within the non-standard frameworkemerged from the concept of “core” and “Peripheral” groups in an organization whichmeant that an organization has to have a central group of smaller number of peoplewho are multi-skilled and could handle multi – tasking thereby remaining ‘flexible’ to thechanging environment. This phenomenon was labeled as ‘functional’ flexibility. On theother hand, the same organization had a much larger ‘peripheral’ group of employeeswho were labeled ‘flexible’ in terms of balancing out the ‘number’ of people in anorganization. Both groups remain under duress: The core group because of itsexpectations to remain multi-skilled and ready for multi-tasking (which also meansextended work hours and handling of various functions simultaneously). The ‘peripheral’group had the pressure of redundancy, low wages, absence of fringe benefits andinsecurity. (Pollert: 1988; Atkinson 1984; NEDO, 1986) A third type of ‘flexibility’ is thedecision ability of managers to upward and most commonly (and painfully) downwards
  5. 5. revision of wages by linking them to business environment. An interesting form ofnumerical flexibility as described by Streeck (1987) is to engage the ‘core’ employees inover-time work. Irrespective of the ways in which we classify this ‘flexibility’, it only addsto the nervousness of employees because of uncertainty.In a landmark study done by Felstead and Gallie (2002) have concluded that full timeemployees are more skilled than part-time employees in terms of their computational,people management and problem solving skills. Likewise, temporary workers are rathermore disadvantaged than their part time counterparts when compared to full timeemployees vis-à-vis development and strategic planning opportunities. Temporaryworkers also felt the most ‘insecure’ followed by part time and full time workers. Payneand Payne (1993) found strong correlation between non-standard form of employmentand recent unemployment implying that people who remain our of employment for along period of time either restart at a lower skill level positions or prefer to engage in selfemployment.Changing SkillsSkills can be classified as A) Skills in Person i.e. the attributes in an individual acquiredby an individual through education, training, experience and qualifications. B) Skills inJob i.e. discretion and complexity learned to comply with job requirements and C)Setting i.e. social relations like teamwork, people skills, leadership, communication(CLMS: 2006)During the early decades of the second half of 20th century, educational qualifications,analytical abilities and technical know-how was considered to be the main determinantof skill. (Keep and Mayhew 1999) As early as 1977, it was recognized that in addition toeducational qualifications and certifications, the soft skills like personality, attitudes,manners, appearance, teamwork etc. are the key distinguishing elements between theemployed and unemployed youth. (MSC 1977: 17, DES 1979a) Afterwards,globalization, economic and technological changes tilted the understanding andrecognition towards relational and soft skills while still building on educationalqualifications and technical know-how. (Payne: 2000) The implications for this on the socalled ‘knowledge worker’ focused on processing of increasing amount of informationand knowledge across diverse contexts for decision making. (Reich: 1992) Thepressure is now on the employees to receive not only a broader formal education butalso get generic training on soft skills as well as vocational learning. (Green 1999b: 12)The pressure of achieving an all round skill level is so great that a lot of employeesimprove their educational qualifications during their employment to stay competitive.(Murray and Steedman: 1998)
  6. 6. Intensity of Work and Job SecurityIncreasing level of work intensity and decreasing level of job security has been a focusof attention of researchers despite high levels of employment. (CLMS 2006) However, itis interesting to note that there is a big gap in the actual unemployment and perceivedunemployment. Employees are under the ‘impression’ and ‘fear’ that they have higherchances of job loss and lower chances of getting an equally rewarding job if they arelaid off. Similarly the intensity of work, as measured by the number of hours spent onwork (Green: 2001) is also based on perception and not much reality because thenumber of working hours have reduced over the years. However the distribution ofworking hours shifted from majority to fewer numbers of people who worked much morethan others. (Green: 2001) Thus the increased number of hours increased for some butnot the entire work force.Beatson (2002) found out that a majority (60%) of employees feel secure in their jobsand only 19% feel insecure. This demonstrates that "Our perceptions not any objectivereality govern our emotional response and resulting behavior” (Dr Valeri OHara PhD,Clinical Psychologist) On the other hand, work intensity, measured by the ‘work-efforts’is demonstrated to have increased from 29% in 1986 to 50% in 2001. (Falstead et al2002: Chapter 6)The cost of enhancement in skills of employees is an increased work pressure anddeterioration in employee health and wellbeing. (Green et al 2002) The range of tasksthe employees perform, the pace at which they work, the pressure from managers,colleagues, the responsibilities and the quantity of work have increased over time.(Burchell et al 1999) The employee involvement programs were a welcome option onlyif they allowed greater control over work and organization. However, all efforts remainedinadequately rewarded. One of the worst fears of changing intensity and increasingflexibility was the perception of losing control over job and organization.Falstead et al have demonstrated that job insecurity remained almost statisticallyinsignificant in their study through 1986 to 1997. They have still argued that insecurity atwork has a direct impact on the psychological ill health of the unemployed as well as itshousehold. The intensity of work, as measured by the ‘intensive effort’ was at its peak inthe 1980’s in the manufacturing sector which in the 1990’s shifted to public sector.Green (2001) also established that across Britain, from 1992 to 1997, there was a steeprise in ‘constrained efforts’ from employees at work followed by a rise in ‘discretionaryeffort’. It was surprising to note that the rise in work intensity was primarily associated to‘peer pressure’ instead of ‘supervisor pressure’.
  7. 7. “Higher skilled jobs engender greater enthusiasm but also greater anxiety” (Green andDuncan: 2002) People with falling or stationary skills are less prone to stress than thosewith an increasing levels of stress as higher levels of skills are directly proportional tohigher levels of arousal. The reason for this arousal as put forward by Green andDuncan is greater involvement and task discretion in addition to empowerment and peersupport in learning new skills. Inexorably, high skilled jobs are associated to hard workand there is hardly any doubt in the premise that hard work is associated to anxiety,stress and physical well being. Another negative aspect for high engagement atworkplace is the spillover of work into non-work or family activities. (White et al. 2003)Patterns of ResistanceThe representation of workers in the unions has reduced from 40% to 18% in the last 30years. (CLMS 2006) Trade unions are becoming less attractive to workers because ofshifting nature of power and “intellectual rediscovery of individualized forms ofresistance”. Historically trade unions at large workplaces had much higher penetrationlevels and lower penetration at small workplaces. This tradition has changed to lowerpenetration at large workplaces yet small workplaces are still the same. A new conceptof union employer partnership emerged and heavily supported by the government hasshifted the power and strength of trade unions to more of a promotion of shared interestof the organizations. Workers became part of the corporate family because theirfinancial stakes in organizations gave them more say in day to day activities of theorganization. Therefore the most visible and obvious form of resistance two or threedecades ago have virtually disappeared. Hyman and Summers (2007) have found outthat the involvement of employees in work – life balance issues leads to ‘greaterbreadth, codification and quality’ in the presence of recognized independent unions.However most organizations remain within the minimal statutory levels of provision ofwork-life balance practices.Four theoretical positions have been identified for association of factors related to theuse work-life balance and family friendly working practices. They are briefly explainedas under:Institutional TheoryAccording to institutional theory, the conformation and manifestation of organizations isa direct reflection of the norms and pressures of a society. (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983;Oliver, 1991) “Social legitimacy” has been identified as the reason why theseorganizations tend to remain in conformity with the societies in which they operate.Large size corporations of public and private sector have a strong inclination to beidentified as ‘conformists’ because their size and business is clearly visible at local as
  8. 8. well international level and they are also accountable to the body of voters. Smallorganizations of private sector can choose to remain unyielding to the social pressuresbut those who have strategic intentions of growing bigger in future tend to remaincompetitive by imitating the actions of ‘big brothers’. They understand that it is ultimatelytheir reputation that will help them attract good human resource for their operations.(McKee et al. 2000) Trade unions in organizations may prove to be a double – edgedsword. If on one hand, their presence may encourage organizations to presentthemselves as a family friendly organization to the society, yet on the other hand,organizations may choose to react by remaining ‘within their shell’. Therefore accordingto institutional theory, the espousal of work life balance policies in an organization isrelated to its sector, size, industry and unionization.Organizational Adaptation TheoryOrganizational Adaptation Theory puts the values of senior management at the centerof all decisions relating to interpretation and perception of societal norms. Therefore it isone step ahead of the Institutional Theory whereby in addition to mere response to thesocietal norms, work-life balance practices are recognized, known and taken heads onby the board of management. (Morgan and Milliken, 1992; Goodstein, 1992; Ingram andSimons, 1995) The theory suggests that the characteristics of workforce woulddetermine the way in which work-life balance is organized. It is highly likely that if theratio of female to male employees in an organization, it will be more responsive tosocietal pressures as women are under much greater pressure to succumb to familydemands. But on the other side, if the percentage of part-time employees is higher forwomen, other aspects of work-family balance may take backstage position. In additionto this, the negotiating position of highly skilled workers is much stronger as they aredifficult to replace, thus putting the management under pressure to adapt to theirdemands of work0life balance policies. Last but not the least, if the composition ofmanagement team is such that they have a ‘soft heart’ or one or more of its membersare going through a similar phase in life, the policies and practices are definitely goingto have a major inclination towards the resolve and commitment to implementconducive and employee friendly work-life balance policies.High Commitment TheoryOne step ahead of organizational adaptation theory is the “High Commitment Theory”whereby organizations use work-life balance policies and practices to raise the level ofcommitment of employees towards their organization. (Gallie et al. 2001; Wood, 1999)HR function can improve the ‘marketability’ of their organization by actively promoting,supporting as well as propagating the family friendly environment thus improving thebinding of existing employees to the organization as well as attracting highly skilled
  9. 9. workforce for future recruitment. (Felstead and Aston, 2000; Osterman 1995) While thislooks very attractive, there are some downsides of ‘work at home’ and flexi workingenvironments. Employers need to devise specific performance measurement systemsto monitor, control and execute the work of those working at home or during flexi hourswhen formal checking systems are not in place. (DTI 2000; Dwelly, 2000; Huws, 1993)The ones commonly in use are virtual meetings, conference calls, team get togetheretc. that with the wider use of ICT has become much more prevalent.Situational Theory“Well established pressures towards profitability and productivity drive managerstowards work-life balance solutions to difficulties in recruiting and retaining high-qualitylabor forces” (Felstead et al. 2002) Situational theory is not about ‘normative pressuresof society’ or ‘adaptation to organizational environment’ or ‘a step ahead in caring’. It ispurely a business proposition whereby the broader contextual environment is taken intoconsideration and its dynamics of work environment are brought into practice. Thebelievers and practitioners of this theory wish to control the challenges of staff turnover,absenteeism, recruitment, retention and unfilled vacancies on the premise thatsituational theory sees the work life balance practices and policies as a directundertaking. This phenomenon does not consider the basis which may however lie inthe shifting gender proportions at workplace.Are Work – life Balance Policies Doomed to deliver?There is conflicting evidences and debates on defining a ‘real pressure’ on employeesand its credible source (s). There is even hazier clarity and inconclusive support as towhether work-life policies and practices are doomed or not. What is now known is thatone factor alone is not responsible for employee stress but it is a combination of variousfactors exerting varying degree of pressures at various times leading to work pressures.We will look at them in bit more detail.Hyman et al (2003) have found that organizational pressures and lack of work centralityintrude into the non-work areas of employee lives. However their manifestations dependon levels of worker autonomy, type of work and organizational support. Theseinterrelated factors result in conflicts because they create sizeable dents in the onlyresources of ‘time and energy’ available to employees. (Cooper et al. 2001) Therefore,this directly deals with lives of people and invites attention of employers and law makerstowards the need and process of striking balance between domestic life and compellingdemands of work. But despite this hullabaloo there are no recognized standards offamily friendliness or work-life balance. This becomes even more complicated in the socalled ‘knowledge economy’ and ‘information society’ where the intangibles like ideas,
  10. 10. services, softwares and relationships are more important than tangibles. (Newell et al.2002) Such kind of economy is characterized by a variety of organizational forms,greater percentage of women in workforce, different geographical boundaries and anarray of contractual employment options. Nevertheless, the most common elementamong all such forms of employment would be the time as a measurement forperformance and use of Information Communications and Technology. (ICT)The “Baseline Study on Work Life Balance” conducted by DfEE demonstrated that staffworking at most places worked for hours beyond their paid time. Employees explainedthis phenomenon as a backlog or temporary addition in the workload. Almost 80% of allwork places reported that some employees would regularly stay in the office muchlonger than they were expected to or paid for. Simpson (1998) attributed this to ‘growingperceived insecurity’ which in fact is a demonstration of ‘commitment’ of technical,managerial and professional staff to the organization. Managers and professionals workthe longest additional hours and that too without any financial rewards. (Hogarth et al.2000) Surprisingly almost 10% men (one in nine) living as couple with dependentchildren men worked at least 60 hours a week.Historically, the ideal worker was expected to carry out the prescribed behavior ofobedience, punctuality and reliability within a rigidly prescribed managerial guidelines ina factory setting. However, emotions, cognition and attitudes are seen as the primaryresources of production in a flexible workplace and the worker is supposed to surrenderhis ‘self’ and relate it only to the organization. The management is clearly focused on itsgoals and expects its employees to achieve them through an empowered feeling,thought and action. (Cunningham et al. 1996) Studies of the exploitation of labor haveshould that employees in the services sector are increasing expected demonstrate theircommitment by engaging their whole person into the job. (Scase 2002) However if theorganizations get the whole worker, the distinctions between home-life and work-lifebegin to disappear. Social activities, team nights out, competition, ceremonies andprizes for the employees or staff of modern organizations who are now labeled asassociates or members at workplace are all attempts to smudge distinction betweenhome and work life.Increasing number of lone parent households, decline in the extended familycharacterize the evolving structure of family life. (Crow and Hardey 1999) Whilehousehold life is becoming increasingly complex, work is playing an increasinglyprominent role in lives of people. The number of single parents with dependent childrenhas multiplied three times its figure in 25 years to 20% of all families. The resultant step-relationships itself are a major source of tension and complexities in these families.Because of longer life expectancy, the requirements of elder care have increased in the
  11. 11. absence of institutional care. 45% of women are now in work of which 70% are in paidwork and 65% have dependent children. There has been minimal or no change in thedomestic responsibilities of women despite the fact that their numerical representationhas grown considerably in paid work.Men in Great Britain work for 3.5 hours per week more than men in Greece (secondhighest in Europe) and women in Sweden (second highest in Europe) follow Britishwomen by 0.8 hours per week. (Social Trends 2001) This phenomenon is moreattributable to ‘long hours culture’ than actual work load. (White et al 2003) However,raising hue and cry about this phenomenon is also commonly evident in the shape ofstories in the press about the damaging effects of long working hours to the workersand their families. Politicians and government have been quick to respond to the call asa result of which family policy and Child Care Strategy was evolved in Green Paper (DTI1998). Work – Life Balance Campaign was launched by labor government in the year2000 which was aimed at propagating work life balance practices as a benefit to theemployers. The Green Paper did not only seek family friendly policies for marriedpeople or parents but it included everyone’s personal and professional life challenges. Itstrongly promoted the philosophy that work-life balance is beneficial not only foremployees but also for the employers.Employees, overwhelmed by work intensification, increased influx of women in labormarket, widespread feelings of job insecurity, non standard forms of work, increasinguse of information and communication technologies and work at odd hours tend to holdtime pressures responsible for everything. (Roberts 2007) Employees complaint abouttime pressures, work-life imbalance and long hours irrespective of the fact the workingtime has not lengthened. It is highly unlikely that the number of hours will be reducedfurther because of high opportunity costs. The good thing to note is that competitiveemployees have started using self help strategies to get the most out of their time andlife.Moore (2007) conducted a research to compare and contract managers and workers ofa multinational company to see how they made attempts to reach and maintain worklifebalance. She found out that although the work-life balance initiatives were primarilyfocusing on managers, the workers did better in terms of balancing their work with life.Managers displayed more loyalty to the organizations. Neither managers nor workersdisplayed a positive attitude to their work. While the focus of workers was on personalsatisfaction, managers focused on achieving status. The conclusion drawn from thisstudy is that work-life balance initiative may in fact have a deleterious impact on workand family life.
  12. 12. Summary and Conclusion:The debate is still open and ongoing whether work-life balance policies and practicesdeliver their desired results of employee satisfaction and lesser degree of pressures atwork. Hyman et al (2003) have found that organizational pressures and lack of workcentrality intrude into the non-work areas of employee lives. The “Baseline Study onWork Life Balance” conducted by DfEE demonstrated that staff working at most placesworked for hours beyond their paid time. Cunningham et al demonstrated that themanagement is clearly focused on its goals and expects its employees to achieve themthrough an empowered feeling, thought and action. Crow and Hardey identified steprelationships as a source of stress. White et al concluded that work pressure is moreattributable to ‘long hours culture’ than actual work load. Roberts emphasized acombination of many factors and Moore identified conflicting interests betweenmanagers and worker. Scheibl and Dex propagate that a relationship of trust andcommitment between employer and worker can be a new way of addressing thesechallenges.It is yet to be conclusively decided whether the actual pressure on employees isemanating from time, family, ‘non-standard’ and contractual nature of jobs leading tomajor shifts in the skills requirement, growing levels of job insecurity, and intensificationof labor increased influx of women in labor market, widespread feelings of job insecurity,increasing use of information and communication technologies, globalization,competition or work at odd hours. It could also be combination of all or few that gives anoverwhelming feeling to employees about work. Therefore, it would not be intelligent tolay everything on work-life balance policies let alone declare them doomed to deliver.References: 1. Atkinson, J. (1984) “Manpower Strategies for Flexible Organizations”, Personnel Management, 16(8): 28 – 31 2. Beatson, M. (January 01, 2000). Job "quality" and job security. Labour Market Trends, 108, 10.) 3. Bell, A., and La Valle, I., (2003) Combining Self Employment and Family Life, Bristol; Policy Press. 4. Burchell, B. J., Day, D., Hudson, M; Ladipo, D; Mankelow, R.; Nolan, J. P; Reed, H; Wichert, I. C. and Wilkinson, F., (1999) Job Enrichment or Job Impoverishment, Chap. 5, Job Insecurity and Work Intensification, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Pp29-39 & 68-70 5. CLMS 2006, Changing Skills, Module 2 Option 2G, Unit 3, p6-7 Center for Labor Market Studies, University of Leicester.
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