Edited by Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova
Chapter 4: Women Gen X global managers striving for work/life balance
The challenge of managing work and family and striving for "work/life balance" can have various meanings worldwide due to differing local cultural contexts within which work is performed (Lirio et al., 2007; Poster, 2005). For a career developing in a global context, the relocation required in undertaking expatriate assignments represents the most significant challenge to existing family life (Mäkelä and Suutari, 2011). Organizations are increasingly challenged to find managers willing to expatriate (Tharenou, 2008) given that many qualified candidates are likely to be concerned with managing work and family/personal issues and seeking work/life balance overall. Today's pool of qualified global managers in the US and Canada are from the generation born between 1965 and 1980, in their 30s and 40s, called "Generation X" (hereafter, 'Gen X'). They began careers in an environment that saw an increasing presence of women in the workforce, growing usage of information technology at work, and new entrants calling for work/life balance (Catalyst, 2001; Erickson, 2010; Zemke et al., 2000). Since 2000, equal numbers of men and women have comprised the managerial workforce in the US (DiNatale and Boraas, 2002). Gen Xers and their younger counterparts, the Millennials or Gen Ys (born between 1980 and 1991), now comprise the majority of the workforce in many knowledge-based companies (Benko and Weisberg, 2008). With increasing globalization, Gen Xers will likely see greater opportunity for work with global aspects (Fisher, 2009).
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