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Sacrificing personal or professional life? A gender perspective on the accounts of retail managers

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This article examines the issue of multiple role demands experienced, and the sacrifices managers make, in their career and personal lives. A series of 22 in-depth biographical interviews were conducted with retail managers of large companies in the UK. Respondents reported various instances of conflict between their work and personal lives. The findings revealed more of an asymmetrical permeability for both men and women managers, with work demands more likely to spillover to personal life. Combined together, these can represent very real problems in terms of the sacrifices managers need to make with regard to their work and /or personal lives. Women managers were found to undertake the majority of household duties and are therefore more likely to suffer from role overload. However, the findings also showed that both male and female managers are making sacrifices in one domain in order to accommodate the other. Significantly, women were more likely than men to have made sacrifices with regard to having children. It is acknowledged that the research cannot be generalised to the wider population of UK retail managers. However, the findings revealed some relevant issues that should be addressed by retail companies if they want to gain competitive advantage via the people they employ.

Keywords: gender; managers; retail; sacrifices; work-life conflict

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Marketing Division and Institute for Retail Studies, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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