Mødre i det grenseløse arbeidslivet - Foreningen mellom familie- og arbeidsliv: Et kvalitativt studie om hvordan det grenseløse arbeidslivet skaper muligheter og utfordringer for yrkesaktive mødres work-life balance

Mari Kvindesland Olsen & Karoline Skår

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates how a boundaryless work-life creates challenges and opportunities for working mothers’ work-life balance. To examine this, nine qualitative interviews were conducted with knowledge-working mothers from different companies and industries. With a phenomenological and hermeneutical point of view, the phenomenon of work-life balance was investigated by examining the respondents’ experiences of the phenomenon, through semi-structured interviews. The empirical material was analysed in relation to theoretical perspectives and concepts from literature. Through an analysis of the qualitative data, it was found that flexi-time and technology create an opportunity for employees to adapt their working-life to their family-life. On the other hand, the working mothers always have access to their work, and have to make an active choice not to work. If she experiences time pressure related to finishing her work tasks, flexi-time and technology can contribute to an increase in working hours and telework, which will disturb her work-life balance. As the work is intangible, it is also always available in employees’ minds. A challenge occurs when an employee spends time thinking about work during time off or thinking about family matters while at work. We found that this can lead to role-blurring and make it harder to balance work- and family life. Furthermore, we also found that family-to-work spillover is more likely to occur than work-to-family spillover. As a result of a boundaryless work-life it can be harder for mothers to distinguish between their work role and their family role. This can lead to role conflict, especially when the children are younger, as more is expected more from the mother role during that time. Lastly, we found that this has a negative impact on work-life balance, but that the cross pressure facilitates as the children grow older. Based on the findings we conclude that a boundaryless work-life creates opportunities for working mothers to maintain a good work-life balance, but that challenges occur when they are under pressure at work and when they find it hard to set boundaries for themselves. By choosing a job that is compatible with having children, it is easier for working mothers to limit their work-life, and thus maintain a good work-life balance.

EducationsMSocSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages191