This chapter reviews empirical research on the impact of culture and structure at the country level on: 1) employees’ needs regarding the work–life interface and their expectations of support in this area; 2) the breadth and nature of work–life policies provided by employers (e.g., flexible work arrangements, leaves); and 3) employees’ ability to use these policies, that is, how supervisors view the take-up of the policies and their employees’ work–life balance. The different layers of national context reviewed in this chapter comprise culture (e.g., individualism–collectivism, gender egalitarianism, power distance) and structure (e.g., public policies, industrial relations, the tax system, industrialization, economic growth/recession, gender equality, family structures). A research agenda follows in order to guide future cross-national research looking at employer-driven work–life policies and their use by employees. Key words: work–family, work–life, national context, cross-national, culture, structure.
Tarani Merriweather Woodson and Ariane Ollier-Malaterre
The US and France share common democratic values and ideals for diversity, yet differ greatly in the ways in which they frame diversity, which makes for an interesting comparison to outline the interactions between the framing of diversity at the country level, the operational paradigms to manage diversity, and intersectionality research. Our objectives are to enrich intersectionality research by calling attention to its embeddedness within specific historical, legal, and political contexts, and to foster a critical examination of diversity management paradigms in both countries. As intersectionality research is still very much embedded in the American context, it is important to first examine its origins and then explore how it can be applied to the French context. Thus while the US has come to acknowledge the reality of intersectionality with regard to race and gender, France is still grappling with the notions of race and ethnicity, let alone their application to an accepted gender dichotomy. Although the context and policies differ, the practice of exclusion based on ethnicity and gender is still sustained in both countries. By applying intersectionality to a comparative study between nations, we are not assuming one context or approach as more advanced than the other; rather, we highlight the need for exchange among the different approaches. We hope that situating diversity management paradigms and intersectionality research in their national contexts can bring forth a fresh perspective on how to address and research diversity in both countries.