Work-family integration in biotechnology : implications for firms and employees
Author(s)Eaton, Susan C
Sloan School of Management.
Lotte Bailyn and Thomas A. Kochan.
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This dissertation addresses the problems and synergies of integrating paid work with other meaningful parts of life, and avoiding pernicious choices between work and family. To do so, I examine the very structure of work organization for professional and technical employees in small and medium-sized companies in a new, knowledge-based sector of the US economy. The research questions are: What dynamics at work, related to time, boundaries, and control of schedules and work process, influence satisfaction at work and home, commitment to the work organization, well-being and gender equity? Under what conditions are supportive "work-family" practices by firms, as experienced in a day-to-day context, associated with positive outcomes at home and work? The dissertation builds on relevant aspects of industrial relations, human resources, and work process research, and scholarship concerning families, gender, and work-family boundaries. Work scholarship is incomplete without a lens that incorporates the holistic lives and concerns of the people doing the work, and family scholarship is incomplete without serious consideration of the work structures that shape family schedules, resources, conflicts, and availability for caregiving. This dissertation uses both qualitative data from 80 interviews to get an in-depth picture of respondents' lives, and a broader quantitative analysis based on an original survey with 463 professional scientists and managers. These were gathered from biopharmaceutical employees in Massachusetts during 1996-99. From the interviews I find that flexibility at work, support at home, and control at work are the key factors that contribute to satisfaction outcomes given similar levels of demands. But these are not distributed evenly by gender, company, or level of job. The survey data show that it is not only the presence of workplace policies on work-family, but the employee's day-to-day experience of whether she is free to use the policies, that contributes to positive outcomes. I introduce a concept o "perceived usability" and use multivariate regression analysis to show it is linked to control of time, pace, and place of work, to organizational commitment and "integrated satisfaction." I find that gender is the strongest stress predictor in this sample. I find that biotechnology offers unusual opportunities for gender equity at work, but a combination of traditional managerial attitudes and inequity at home erects barriers to realizing this potential. In conclusion, I argue that we cannot effectively understand organizational life and work design without considering mutually interactive effects of home and family concerns.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, 2000.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 271-288).
DepartmentSloan School of Management.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management.