Gender in Organizations
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Gender in Organizations

Are Men Allies or Adversaries to Women’s Career Advancement?

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Debra A. Major

Diversifying the workforce is becoming increasingly important, with gender equality being a central feature of overall equality. Men seem to be part of the problem and a necessary part of the solution. This collection ties these themes together in the context of talent management and organizational effectiveness.
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Chapter 15: How can men and women be allies in achieving work-family balance? The role of coping in facilitating positive crossover

Michael L. Litano, Dante P. Myers and Debra A. Major


As dual-earner couples have become the norm, once well-defined partner life roles (i.e., breadwinner or homemaker) have become more ambiguous. Concurrently, what it means to achieve workñfamily balance lacks a singular definition; instead, ideal ëbalanceí is individually defined. Balancing work and family is a challenge that both men and women confront, but are they allies in facing this challenge? In this chapter we argue that the answer to this question largely hinges on the extent to which men and womenís efforts to manage workñfamily conflict and to find balance are aligned. To the extent that men and women engage in coping strategies that stimulate each otherís well-being, they become allies in combating workñfamily conflict and in achieving their own personal balance. The chapter is presented in three sections. In the first, we define workñ family conflict and facilitation, the two primary precursors of workñfamily balance. In the second, we review the ways in which men and women can be both adversaries and allies in influencing each otherís well-being via crossover effects. We conclude this chapter by arguing that the key determinant of whether men and women are allies or adversaries in achieving workñfamily balance depends on the extent to which each partner engages in workñfamily coping strategies that facilitate positive crossover.

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