Metaphysical Labour: Flexibility, Performance and Commitment in Work-Life Management

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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This thesis offers a critical contribution to the theories of work-life balance. Within the contemporary theoretical perspectives on work and life the individuals are constructed as being responsible for work-life balance by turning it into a problem of the personal behaviour, decisions, psychological traits and family condition of the human subject. In this sense the everyday problem of balancing between work and home is reduced to be primarily an individual problem and decision. When the problem of work-life balance is raised in this way, it is difficult for companies to offer managerial and organizational solutions that do not automatically exclude this as an individual problem. It might be possible for managers and organizations to help the employees in achieving work-life balance, but it is fundamentally a challenge that the individual employees must solve. The thesis offers a different perspective on the relation between work and life. This perspective is not based upon the individual employees’ perception and hence constitution of work-life balance. Instead, it is argued that the constitution of the relation of work and life is to be found in its effects. These effects are not established in the constitution of the boundary between work and home, but are rather recognized by how the employees determine and define activities and tasks as work. For example, is it work to send email in the evening? Is it work to read an article at the weekend? Is it work to update a profile on Facebook? The question is therefore ‘what is work?’ and not ‘what is the boundary between work and home?’
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages262
ISBN (Print)9788759384114
Publication statusPublished - 2010
SeriesPhD series

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