Diversity as a corporate value has different outcomes in different countries and cultures; a finding of a recent study involving sixteen mothers with young children, employed by a multinational corporation in Japan and New Zealand. The goal of the qualitative study was to understand the value and effectiveness of corporate 'work-life balance' policies and how the socio-cultural environment affected the women's lives and aspirations. Despite the volume of academic literature on work-life balance the body of literature is still overwhelmingly Western in context. This is not surprising as gender equality in the workplace, the time bind, and balancing leisure with work are concerns of 'modern' societies, the majority of which are found in the West. However, increasingly these issues are a concern for developed countries in Asia such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore where, arguably, gendered roles in relation to work and family are stronger than those in the West and birth-rate decline is a serious policy issue. By applying a 'gender lens' to theoretical perspectives in the area of work and family the impact of prescribed gender norms and identities are revealed. The results show how crucial both the organisational and national cultures are to an employee's ability to successfully use any 'family-friendly' policies that an organisation may offer to help their workers balance work and family.
|Keywords:||Diversity, Work-Life Balance, Gender, Cross-National, Culture, Japan, New Zealand|
Masters Student, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Systems, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
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