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Great expectations. Dual-earner policies and the management of work–family conflict: the examples of Sweden and Slovenia

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This article explores mechanisms linking family policy to work–family conflict, work demands and gender. The conflict construct has dominated survey-based work–family research; however, both the individual actor and the societal context have been conspicuously absent. In qualitative interviews, including established instruments of work–family conflict, we studied how perceptions of work–family conflict were linked to strategies and use of policy entitlements among working parents in Sweden and Slovenia, two countries with policies promoting the dual-earner family. Our findings imply that such policies contribute to 'have-it-all' aspirations, but collide with practical realities, including norms related to work, parenthood and gender. In Sweden, policy tools and work demands appeared more decisive, especially for women's conflict, whereas in Slovenia, informal care by extended family was important. Based on the analysis, we propose a typology of strategies and perceived conflict that can help develop research on work–family conflict, especially from a comparative perspective.
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Keywords: DUAL-EARNER; FAMILY POLICY; QUALITATIVE; WORK–FAMILY CONFLICT

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 2014

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