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Work and Family - Allies or Enemies?

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Work and Family - Allies or Enemies?

What Happens When Business Professionals Confront Life Choices

Oxford UP,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The eternal quest for balance between work and home, men and women, kids and career, now has a statistical foundation.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Stewart D. Friedman and Jeffrey H. Greenhaus conducted extensive research with 861 alumni of the business schools at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia. Their research yielded revealing results about the struggle of professionals to manage work and family commitments. However, Friedman and Greenhaus present these results in such overwhelming statistical detail that the average reader is in danger of being swamped. This is especially the case when the data proves principals that most people already grasp through common sense and experience. That said, getAbstract recognizes that the authors have done working Joes and Janes a great service by aggregating numbers to back up the notion that it’s getting tougher to balance family and career. As such, this is an important book for anyone in a position to set workplace policy.


Work and Family: Changing Dynamics

The two dominant roles most employed women and men fill - work and family life - can help or hurt each other as allies or enemies. They can be allies if you learn to balance them, while they may be enemies if you invest too much time in one to the detriment of the other.

Today, people from dual-career families are working more hours, which makes it particularly hard to care for children. The psychological effects of work commitments on the home and of home commitments on work can be even harder to handle than the time commitment a job requires. This conflict affects men and women differently. Women find it more difficult to choose between having a satisfying career or marriage and children. Trying to keep a balance often limits their career advancement opportunities. By contrast, men may find it more difficult to participate in family life when they place a priority on career advancement.

Balance: Six Major Themes

Research with 861 alumni of business schools at Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, produced the following six themes:

  1. Having it all is possible but tough for...

About the Authors

Stewart D. Friedman  is a professor of management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. He has advised Al Gore on work and family issues. Jeffrey H. Greenhaus  is a professor of management, commerce and engineering at Drexel University. He has authored or co-authored three books.

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