When the past comes back to haunt you: The enduring influence of upbringing on the work–family decisions of professional parents

Ioana Lupu, Crawford Spence, Laura Empson
2017 Human Relations  
Research on work-family balance decisions generally presents them as an individual's rational choice between alternatives. The anticipatory socialisation literature highlights the role that early formative experiences play in shaping work and parenting decisions. We go further to emphasise the role of habitushistorically constituted dispositions -in workfamily balance decisions. This relational approach explores how the entrenched and historically formed dispositions of individuals interact
more » ... mically with contextual (i.e. organizational) imperatives. Numerous studies have highlighted the difficulties of reconciling the intense demands of professional careers with family lives. Drawing on 148 interviews with 78 male and female professionals, our study looks at much deeper rooted causes of work-family conflict in professional service firms than have previously been considered. We identify four broad patterns of response to the work-family conflict: professionals may willingly reproduce their parental model, reproduce their parental model against their will, willingly distance themselves from their parental model, and distance themselves from the parental model against their will. We show that the impediments to greater equality lie not only in organizational and societal structures, but within individuals themselves in the form of historically constituted dispositions which contribute towards the maintenance and reproduction of those structures. Keywords Habitus, professional careers, professionals, professional service firms, socialization, workfamily balance decisions, working parents [Query to Authors: Please send editable versions of the figuresthe versions you have uploaded have been embedded, are not readily editable, and are therefore not suitable for typesetting. Please refer to our instructions for preparing figures at: http://www.tavinstitute.org/humanrelations/submit_paper/how_to_submit.html and let me know if you have any queries. Many thanks] [Query to Authors: Please insert author biogs here with email addresses: ... Many thanks]
doi:10.1177/0018726717708247 fatcat:nfa6nxx6yjdtjjrh2d3zzfjqce