Challenges and Opportunities
Edited by Debra A. Major and Ronald J. Burke
Chapter 9: Work and family issues in a multi-generational context
For over 30 years, a considerable body of research in the fields of industrial and organizational psychology (IO) and organizational behaviour (OB), and in the management sciences, has been devoted to exploring the work–family interface. This contemporary interest in work–family issues has emerged against a backdrop of an increasingly diverse labor market, vast changes to family structures and in familial responsibilities, and a greater emphasis on promoting quality of both work and non-work life. As Heraty et al. (2008, p. 209) point out, the work–family interface is ‘an area of immense importance, personally, professionally and socially, as increasing numbers of families attempt to juggle work and family commitments and experience underlying difficulties in doing so’. Despite a burgeoning literature that has examined the ways in which individuals experience work–family and family–work conflict (Major et al., 2002), work-role stress (Doby and Caplan, 1995) and spillover between work and family domains (Grzywacz, 2000), relatively little consideration has been given to how such work–family issues may vary among individuals and families of different ages, or in different age cohorts (generations). Understanding age and generation variations in work–life issues is particularly important as the labor force is rapidly growing older, and when, for the first time in history, there are four generations in the workplace.
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