Kossek, E. E. , Lewis, S. & Hammer, L. 2010. Work-life initiatives and organizational change: Overcoming mixed messages to move from the margin to the mainstream, Human Relations 1-17.
The aim of this article is to give a brief overview of the varying perspectives on how organizational work-life initiatives have been viewed as an organizational change phenomenon. We discuss how these initiatives can be classified into two main forms: structural (e.g. flexible work arrangements, human resource policies) and cultural (e.g supportive supervisors and climate) supported by different rationale. While work-life policies and practices serve a purpose of highlighting the need for organizations and society to adapt to better support changing family structures and the changing nature of work, we argue there is a danger that the work-life field could become marginalized as currently socially constructed. We note mixed consequences of work-life initiatives for individuals and organizations such as increased work intensification and perpetuation of stereotypes of ideal workers. We argue that organizations and scholars need to increasingly use discourse and framing that views organizational change to adopt and implement good work-life practices as another core part of employment practice and organizational effectiveness and not just a strategy to support disadvantaged workers or the field may be marginalized. We conclude with an overview of the six papers in this special issue.