Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 4 2003, page 41-57.
Sidsel Lond Grosen og Karen Il Wol Knudsen
Firms are increasingly using ‘Family friendly’ personnel policies in order to attract labour. Such policies often provide employees with schemes such as flexible hours or part time work, which are particularly suited to the life of busy double breadwinner families.
As a point of departure, this article asks whether or not, from a career perspective, choosing to make use of some of these possibilities disadvantage the employee? We aim to answer this question through a discourse analysis of three group interviews with employees from IKEA, DIEU and Novozymes - three companies which have implemented different kinds of ‘family friendly’ personnel policies. The focus of the article is the relation between work, family and gender. The main conclusions are that: 1) The way gender is socially constructed in the family plays an important role at work, 2) partly because of 1), women and men have different work opportunities, and 3) individualism, which seems to be the dominant perspective in many companies (manifested in e.g. individual rights and duties) hinders discussions on gender equality, as this is perceived as a matter of group rights. The analysis is placed in a broader empirical and theoretical perspective, which opens up our conclusion for further practical and theoretical inquiries.