When Firms Restructure

Research Report

When Firms Restructure

Understanding Work-Life Outcomes


Analyses of work-life balance typically do not address the role of organizational structure but generally focus on individual worker attributes and a company's work-life policies. This paper focuses on the interrelationship among structural changes in industries and firms, managerial strategy, and jobs. This chapter appears in Work and Life Integration in Organizations and is based on our broader research on internal labor market changes over the past decade and the implications for the quality of jobs as a consequence of corporate restructuring in four industries. We find that although employer-driven restructuring is the predominant factor shaping job structure, and that changes in flexibility are usually collateral consequences rather than goals of restructuring, worker needs for job flexibility to accommodate work-life balance exert pressure on managers to structure jobs around those needs. The paper details those changes in jobs and career paths that affect the opportunities for work-life balance.

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