Work–Family Practices and Complexity of Their Usage: A Discourse Analysis Towards Socially Responsible Human Resource Management

Journal of Business Ethics 171 (4):815-831 (2020)
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Abstract

The question of work–family practices commonly arises in both theory and daily practice as a matter of responsibility in today’s organisations. More information is needed about them for socially responsible human resource management. In this article our interest is in how work–family practices, serve as an important element of SR-HRM, constructed as helpful for employees’ work–family integration, are realised in organisational life. We investigate the discursive ways in which members of two different organisations working at different organisational levels construct the issue in the Finnish context. Three discourses were interpreted: a discourse of compliance with external pressure, a discourse of negotiation and a discourse of individual flexibility. Discursive constructions of work–family practices make visible the complex interconnectedness of individuals and organisations with the environment in which they operate. Many organisational efforts to create positive work–family practices can, in fact, lead to failure to make these practices either available or usable, and they may result in the unjust treatment of organisation members. Creating sustainable work–family practices is a complex challenge for which SR-HRM must work out a solution.

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