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A sense of entitlement? Fathers, mothers and organizational support for family and career

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The influential work of Suzan Lewis has played an important part in shaping understandings of parenting, work–life integration and gendered values and practices in organizations. Below, we offer a brief outline of how Suzan's work has influenced the work–life research field. We focus particularly on her observations about career advancement, gender and a sense of entitlement (or otherwise) among employed fathers and mothers. In particular, we build on Lewis's [(1997). ‘Family friendly’ employment policies: A route to changing organizational culture or playing about at the margins? Gender, Work & Organization, 4, 13–23] notion of ‘entitlement’ among and between employed parents regarding access to family friendly and/or flexible working and personal career advancement. We extend Lewis's ideas through developing a framework which reflects the relative sense of entitlement (or lack thereof) between fathers and mothers in relation, respectively, to ‘support for family needs’ and ‘equity in career development’ (1997, p. 15). We then advance and update this framework through suggesting that a sense of entitlement among today's fathers, regarding access to family friendly working, may be undergoing a social shift. Drawing upon Lewis's important contribution to the work–life field, the paper thus explores how understandings of fatherhood are changing. We then consider what future research agendas might be.
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Keywords: fatherhood; integración entre trabajo y vida; la paternidad; sense of entitlement; sentido de derecho; work–life integration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Management of Learning and Leadership, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK 2: Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Publication date: March 14, 2016

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