Handbook on Women in Business and Management
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Handbook on Women in Business and Management

Edited by Diana Bilimoria and Sandy Kristin Piderit

This comprehensive Handbook presents specially commissioned original essays on the societal roles and contexts facing women in business and management, the specific career and work–life issues of women in these fields, organizational processes affecting women, and the role of women as leaders in business and management. The essays shed light on the extant structures and practices of society and organizations that constrain or facilitate women’s representation, treatment, quality of life, and success.
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Chapter 9: Balance, Integration and Harmonization: Selected Metaphors for Managing the Parts and the Whole of Living

Sandy Kristin Piderit


Sandy Kristin Piderit The study of work–life issues is several decades old, and has evolved significantly. In this chapter, I comment on two dominant metaphors which have been used to frame such scholarship. While a plethora of other conceptual labels are sometimes invoked in the field, including conflict, enhancement, interaction, juggling, reconciliation and spillover, two metaphorical terms have been dominant. Lambert and Kossek (2005) point out that scholars ‘have tended to adopt the most commonly used terms’ (p. 518) which they identify as work–family balance and work–life integration. These are the first two metaphors I consider in this chapter. Next, I draw out the potential merits of a third metaphor recently advanced by Rapoport, Lewis and Gambles (2005). When I first began to explore the work–life literature, I was puzzled by the coexistence of the two conceptual labels, balance and integration. At first, I tried to make sense of the two labels, which seemed inconsistent with one another, by testing the assumption that ‘balance’ was a label used in writing for practitioners, and ‘integration’ was reserved for more theoretically grounded writing for scholars. However, I soon found that there are valuable and informative practitioner articles using the ‘integration’ label (for example, Shellenbarger, 1999) and carefully crafted scholarly articles using the ‘balance’ label (for example, Caproni, 2004; Kofodimos, 2004). I realized that my starting assumption could not withstand testing. I began to try to track down the transition from the balance to the integration metaphor,...

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