Challenges and Opportunities
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis
Chapter 10: Work-life balance practices in healthcare organizations: a 2003 status report
10. Work–life balance practices in healthcare organizations: a 2003 status report Peter A. Weil and Cynthia Kivland INTRODUCTION Known as caring as well as curing places, healthcare organizations, notably hospitals, might be expected as part of their general ethos to consider the family and non-work needs of their employees. And, with over 70 percent of the healthcare workforce being women, we supposed that organizations in this sector would be on the cutting edge of establishing exemplary work–life balance practices. Today, especially, with crippling nurse shortages being cited as the most critical problem facing healthcare organizations, we expected that many hospitals would have experimented with and adopted policies that really helped them to win new recruits and retain the staff they so desperately need. Ultimately, the goal for organizations that compete for staff is to become an ‘employer of choice’. To examine the state of the art in healthcare, we pose the following questions: (1) What are some of the contemporary exemplary practices that exist in healthcare organizations that promote integration of life and work? (2) What were the triggers that prompted the practice? (3) What are some of the hurdles that had to be overcome from the individual’s and the organization’s perspective? (4) What were the outcomes of having offered and taken advantage of work–life balance practices? (5) How did the work–life practice(s) become part of the organization’s culture? To examine these issues, we decided to focus mostly on the managers and higher-level executives of...
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