Academic journal article Management Revue

Working Time Arrangements and Family Time of Fathers: How Work Organization(s) Shape Fathers' Opportunities to Engage in Childcare **

Academic journal article Management Revue

Working Time Arrangements and Family Time of Fathers: How Work Organization(s) Shape Fathers' Opportunities to Engage in Childcare **

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In Germany, gender arrangements (Pfau-Effinger, 1998) in the division of paid and unpaid labor are changing. Within the public discourse about gender equality, traditional family settings such as the male breadwinner model are becoming more and more uncommon. As a consequence of increasing female labor force participation, fathers are expected to take part in more of the family household tasks. When it comes to childcare, surveys on attitudes and preferences of fathers in Germany show that today many even want to share family tasks equally with their partner and take on the role of engaged father (Baisch, 2012; Volz & Zulchner, 2009). Nevertheless, the idea of becoming an active father seems to encounter difficulties along the way since, in practice, it is the mothers who are still performing most of the childcare (Gershuny & Sullivan, 2003; Grunow, 2014).

A range of different explanations is provided here for the discrepancies between fatherly attitudes and practices. Whereas some concentrate on a lack of structural conditions for fatherly engagement, others emphasize the persistence of gendered norms and gender roles. More recently, the relevance of work time arrangements, as well as particular organizational work settings, has emerged to explain the variance in fathers' possibilities to engage in childcare (Gornick & Meyers, 2003; e.g. Haas & O'Brien, 2010). Here, a father's work hours are expected to mediate his availability to his children. Along with changing demands of work, knowledge work is discussed to provide on the one hand improved flexibility to combine work and family obligations, but on the other hand, demanding extended availability around the clock (Kvande, 2009). In addition to new forms of the organization of work, especially work cultures, with their corresponding implicit work-time regimes, are seen to have significant influence on fathers' opportunities to take part in everyday family life (Haas et al., 2002; Burke, 2010; Williams, 2002; Puchert, Gartner, & Höyng, 2005). That is, work organizations are able to define the work (time) arrangements for male employees in a significant way, and therefore might also influence fathers' possibilities to engage in childcare. In examining the possible reasons for the gap between fathers' wishes and their practices, it is therefore crucial to look at fathers' working conditions.

For German fathers there still is a lack of analyses of the particular organizational setting as a crucial factor in their w'orking hours and available time for their children. This analysis aims to contribute to the ongoing question of how work (time) arrangements may influence fathers' engagement in childcare by answering the following questions: How may fathers' work-time arrangements and working conditions affect their daily time with their children in the workweek? In what way do work organizations shape fathers' working conditions and what role do they play in fathers' likelihood to engage in childcare?

To answer these questions, quantitative diary data and qualitative interview data are used together to match the study fathers' daily practices with their reflections on how their childcare arrangements within the family originated. Using fathers' data from three organizations, this analysis examines how fathers combine work obligations and time for children, with an emphasis on the working conditions that may hinder or even support fathers to engage themselves in the family.

This analysis, linking family research to management research, contributes to the interdisciplinary study of contemporary fathers' work and life conditions and intends to provide a new perspective on the societal impact of work organizations on gender arrangements. The paper is structured as follows: In Section 2, the theoretical background of the analysis is outlined. In Section 3, the data and the methods used for the analysis are described. In Section 4, the results are presented and finally, in Section 5, the results are discussed. …

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