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" (Corrigall, and Konrad) Women tend to value better hours, an undemanding commute, helping others, interpersonal relationships, along with a diversity of basic job aspects more than the job components men value. These preferences, this researcher contends, could adversely or positively affect determinations related to FWH. As "society prescribes different values, attitudes and activities for women and men that lead to differences in job attribute preferences,... women's and men's job attribute preferences are thought to differ because different opportunities are available to the sexes and different constraints encumber them in the paid work and family domains." (Ibid) Along with these differences, the study Corrigall, and Konrad implemented also considered the influences of cultural context, and ensuing opportunities afforded to men and women.
Gender stereotypes, shared sets of beliefs regarding psychological traits characteristic of women and men, may differ in various countries, however, in the majority of countries, feminine characteristics usually are considered to include "nurturing, deference, affiliation, and passivity," while "autonomy, aggression, dominance, and achievement were associated with masculinity." (Ibid) Three particular hypotheses included in the study by Corrigall, and Konrad particularly relate to this research proposal.
Hypothesis 3: "Married women and women who have children will value flexible work arrangements more than single, childless women." (Ibid)
Hypothesis 5: Women and men who are responsible for housework will show a stronger preference for flexible work hours than those who have no household responsibilities." (Ibid)
Hypothesis 9: Responsibility for providing family income will be positively associated with employment and hours worked." (Ibid)
During the analysis, men's and women's data were analyzed separately, due to association with household labor, the researchers expected the effects on women's and men's work attitudes and behavior could differ. Corrigall, and Konrad report: "To test whether family responsibilities and job attribute preferences predicted paid work hours, we conducted regression analyses separately for women and men.... we included only employed individuals in these analyses." Findings related to women, the authors of this study, argue: "partially support the prediction that responsibility for housework increases the desire for job flexibility and decreases the desire for high earnings." (Ibid)
Results social preferences and positively related to desires for interesting work and flexibility. Working from home was negatively related to the preference for security and positively related to flexibility. In regard to findings relating to men, "Compared to those with a nonworking spouse or partner, having a spouse or partner who is employed full-time or part-time was negatively related to the preference for income and positively related to preferences for interesting and independent work." (Ibid) Additionally results for work hours substantiated that societal gender equality, as expected,.".. was positively associated with women's and negatively associated with men's hours of paid labor." (Ibid) Other findings and determinations from this particular study suggest that "family responsibilities are good predictors of work values;... (that) women who were mothers valued flexibility more than childless women." (Ibid)
Flexible Work Options Questionnaire
In another study, Albion relates details regarding "A short questionnaire, the Flexible Work Options Questionnaire (FWOQ)," developed to measure workers' attitudes related to using flexible work options (FWOs). In the past, Albion notes, the workplace was deemed to be separate domain from home and family, with gender defining roles. Current changes challenge families' structures, as dual-career families increased with more women in the workplace. Alboin's study examines "the use of flexible work options (FWOs) as a means of achieving this balance, and will look at factors that facilitate or hinder their use." The study additionally supplies validation of the Flexible Work Options Questionnaire (FWOQ), "a scale designed to measure attitudes to the use of FWOs." (Albion)
Attitudes Regarding FWHs
Attitudes regarding FWOs vary; however, some organizations may institute the practice to help employees achieve a better life/work balance. They may also consider this to be a good business practice, just as investing time and money into developing staff is considered "good business." Even when advantages are limited for them, employers generally continue the practice, to meet employees' needs, as this also constitutes positive business practices and helps enhance employer/employee relations. (Ibid) the primary barrier that may prevent employees from using FWOs to their best advantage is financial as FWOs may entail reduced hours and subsequent income reduction. Variations that do not include financial penalties, however, may include parental leave; flex; educational pursuits; training; career's leave; telecommuting; etc. Employees, nevertheless, may hesitate to utilize these options if they think doing so will net unfavorable considerations. Lack of support from supervisors, and/or negative judgments or perceptions regarding an employee's work commitment may prevent them from utilizing FWHs.
From a response rate of 45%, with 173 female and 171 male state service department employees (implemented in 7 city and regional locations) in Study 1 by Albion, it was determined that one potential reason for the low relationship between an employee's perceived barriers and use of FWO use was that families utilized.".. three strategies to adjust their work/family balance":
Parents vary and adjust their work methods during times they have parenting responsibilities.
Parents my intentionally limit their career expectations for a period of time.
Parents may take turns to focus on family or career or family. (Ibid)
During Study 2 by Albion, 346 non-academic Queenlsand regional university staff members were asked to complete surveys with return from 212 individuals for analysis (161 females; 49 males, 2 did not identify gender) to constitute a 61.3% rate. The response rate for females (68.5%), rating higher than the male response rate (44.1%), mirrored the contention that FWOs' concerns may represent a more vital issue for female staff. Study 2 supports the concept that barriers to using FWHs are multidimensional. As three distinct types of barriers were examined, it was determined (for this sample) that financial and career costs concerns do not notably impact employees' use of FWOs. Neither do opinions of supervisors and/or other employees significantly impact FWO use. The primary barrier to impact on FWO use, however, stemmed from workers' feelings of commitment and/or involvement to the workplace. Employees who considered FWOs to cause feelings of isolation from the workplace; to miss significant work events; to feel less dedicated to work would not likely use flexible arrangements, without pay loss. (Ibid) Albion notes that Study 2's results denote that some gender differences exist in the relationship between FWH use and attitudes, and also that "family-friendly" are an additional gendered topic. This researcher posits an agreement with Alboin that "Flexibility in the work place will continue to become more important for both men and women." Even though employees originally wanted flexibility between work and family, other commitments may currently accompany family needs in regard to FWHs. Along with other commitments, including health activities; sports; political endeavors; community involvement, other recreational and even personal business pursuits may be completed with FWHs. In turn, employees benefit at all career stages through the ability to implement a more holistic work/life balance.
The following "Flexible Work Options Questionnaire (FWOQ) -- Version 1 "(Ibid) could also be adapted or used as a guide for a smaller scale questionnaire regarding FWHs:
Flexible working arrangements help me balance life commitments.
A cannot afford the loss of pay associated with most flexible work options. (R)
Flexible work options do not suit me because they tend to make me feel disconnected from the workplace. (R)
Working shorter hours would negatively impact on my career progress within the organization (sic) (R)
Working more flexible hours is essential for me in order to attend to family responsibilities.
Flexible working arrangements are essential for me to participate in family and social events.
Flexible working arrangements enable me to focus more on the job when I am in the workplace.
People at my workplace react negatively to people using flexible working arrangements. (R)
People using flexible working arrangements usually have less commitment to their work role. ®
People using flexible working arrangements often miss important work event or communications, such as staff meetings, training sessions, important notices, etc. (R) would not be able to do paid work at all, if I could not use flexible work arrangements.
FWHs in Politics
The issue of FWHs has also become an issue for political debates. Kornbluh argues that employeer's failure to accommodate working parents embraces an unmet demand of American voters. George W. Bush made a direct appeal to working mothers during his last presidential campaign. He claimed "comp-time" would equip Moms to better balance work and family responsibilities, as they could elect time off rather than overtime pay. Under Bush's plan, Kornbluh notes, employees with accrued comp-time would not be allowed to determine when they would use the time, as employers could designate when employees would use FWHs.
The Families and Work Institute reported that during 2002, 45% of employees state that work and family responsibilities regularly conflict each other. A 67% of working parents complain they do not have enough time with their children. During 2004, Anna Greenberg and Bill McInturff (pollsters)…[continue]
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