Work-life Balance In the Global Human Resource Management
Theme: Work-life Balance In the Global Human Resource Management
“Lewis et al.’s study (2007) of WLB tensions involved interviews with participants in seven countries, including India, South Africa and Japan. They argue that work intensification is becoming a global phenomenon, in which long hours are equated with commitment in the context of a ‘new economy’. The authors cite a participant in a South Africa as stating: ‘You work long hours, and then you are seen as really making a difference.’ An Indian management consultant is also cited as arguing that the long-hours culture ‘has become so entrenched…especially in the new economy…we’ve got to work hard and…literally give up our personal lives’ (Lewis et al., 2007:366) There is increasing attention to work-life balance challenges in Japan, partly due to the context of very low birth rates, and there are ongoing debates on how to further engage men in domestic and childcare work. One female participant argued however that:
There is a two-tier workforce in Japan. One, which is very highly career oriented, which is described as full-time work and is largely dominated by men. The second is part-time work, which lacks any of the benefits associated with full-time work and is largely dominated by women. [Men] are seen as the breadwinners and they are desperate to get jobs that enable them to provide economically for current or future families (p.364).”
– Cited in Kramer & Syed (2014:388)
In view of the preamble given above and the articles “I’d like to teach the office to sing”, and the “The heart must rule at work too” critically discuss (with examples) key differences in how employers and employees in the Western, developed economies and also in non-Western, emerging markets may be dealing with Work-Life Balance in different regions.