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Work-life balance in South East Asia: the Indian experience

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-depth country perspective on work-life balance issues in India. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A qualitative approach is used that includes case studies of work-life interventions offered by a sample of Indian organizations. Primary and secondary data were gathered through interviews with HR managers and from company web sites. Findings ‐ Commonly offered work-life interventions by Indian companies address issues of gender equality, flexibility, stress reduction, health awareness and childcare. Research limitations/implications ‐ Sample of organizations in the study is purposive in nature and HR policies of smaller companies in the informal sector are not included. Future research needs to consider how India's unequal economic development across the organized and unorganized sectors may affect effectiveness of work-life interventions. Practical implications ‐ Based on India's socio-cultural realities additional work-life interventions are suggested in the areas of elder care, employee training and commuting. Social implications ‐ Organizational work-life interventions in India are varied and disparate and have focused mainly on the formal sector. There is no overarching government policy addressing work and family issues across different sectors. Implicit gendering of governmental policies and work-life initiatives covertly reifies patriarchal structures that make such interventions necessary in the first place. Originality/value ‐ The paper exclusively brings out connections between India's socio-economic context and work-family issues of employees, which no other study has achieved before.
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Keywords: Developing countries; Human resource management; India; Multinational companies; Private companies; Public companies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 2, 2012

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