Beyond Work-Family Balance
, by academic researchers Rhona Rapoport, Lotte Bailyn, Joyce K. Fletcher, and Bettye H. Pruitt, grew out of a decade-long search for ways to restructure business life that would "enhance organizational effectiveness while making the workplace more equitable and improving the quality of working people's lives." While few would oppose such goals at face value, their full attainment has nonetheless remained elusive as business pressures increase and unrealistic gender assumptions--like institutional refusal to acknowledge the increasing emergence of women as primary breadwinners--remain entrenched in our corporate cultures, structures, and practices. This book advances a conceptual framework for appropriate organizational change that is tied directly to the dual agenda spelled out in the two-pronged premise of its subtitle: Advancing Gender Equity and Workplace Performance
. With no one-size-fits-all solution possible for such complex issues, the authors draw on related studies in a dozen different workplace settings to instead present a starting point "so that organizations so inclined and the people in them can embark on a similar journey" of exploration and solution. The result will be of interest to anyone who agrees that such change is badly needed and long overdue. --Howard Rothman
A welcome contribution to theory and practice, this volume describes aprogram developed by the authors (academics and professionals experienced in the work/family and organizational behavior fields) to create a more equitable and satisfying workplace. Their program is different in that it attempts to tie together two organizational goals usually tackled separately: improving the bottom line and improving employees' ability to manage their work and personal lives. The authors' underlying beliefs that work and family life should be integrated and that when it is, gender and diversity issues will be addressed and employees will be more effective contributors to their organizations. When it is not integrated, management often experiences costs without productivity gains, while employees often feel work/family initiatives have not been successful. The authors detail actions taken in several consulting assignments with various companies, sharing surveys and meeting agendas. They describe a process that includes many discussions, frequent feedback, and reevaluation. Problems andfailures as well as successes are reported. Clients are assisted inunderstanding assumptions associated with work needs, personal requirements, communication methods, outcome measurements, and rewards. The ideas presented in this volume are provocative and the suggestions realistically appraised. Recommended for graduate, research, and professional collections.
-- F. Reitman, Pace University