The University of Edinburgh -

Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe

REC-WP 04 / 09

Managing work-life policies in the European workplace: explorations for future research

Laura den Dulk and Bram Peper

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Abstract

In this paper we focus on the implementation and management of work-life policies in the workplace and the key role of managers in this context. We review the existing literature, enabling us to set a research agenda focused on explaining managerial attitudes and behaviour toward work-life policies in different organisational and national contexts. The evidence found in several studies suggests that managers often receive mixed messages about the implementation of work/life policies because these policies are not embedded in the workplace; managers are often unaware of such policies and lack training in them, leading to inconsistency in implementation and short-term thinking rather than a long-term perspective that cherishes human capital. Our review points to the need for more research allowing a full understanding of managerial attitudes and behaviour in different organisational and national contexts. Although a few interesting studies do exist, research in the field is still in its infancy. More research is needed, in particular systematic studies with well-developed theoretical frameworks.

Keywords

Line managers, work-life policies, allowance decisions, European workplace