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Sex, gender, and decisions at the family -> work interface

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2010
JournalJournal of Management
Journal number4
Volume36
Number of pages29
Pages1011-1039
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

What is the linkage between individuals’ sex and the interface between their work and family roles? The answer to this question is by no means straightforward as gender roles, work roles, and family roles evolve. To address the question, the authors examine the influence of family-domain factors on work-domain decisions and their linkages to sex and gender. According to the logic of appropriateness, a theory of decision making, people develop and apply rules in decision-making situations that are consistent with their personal identities. The authors identify three broad types of decisions in the work domain—role entry, participation, and exit decisions—that may be influenced by factors in the family domain according to such rules. Next, they review the literature on the linkage between individuals’ sex and an example of each of these types of decisions: the role entry decision about whether to start a business, the role participation decision about the number of hours to devote to one’s job or business, and the role exit decision about whether to quit a job. The review suggests that (a) family-domain factors mediate effects of sex on work-domain decisions and (b) sex moderates relationships between family-domain factors and work-domain decisions. Based on the review, the authors offer a model of the linkages among sex, family-domain factors, and work-domain decisions that incorporates constructs from theories of the psychology of gender (femininity) and identity theories (family role salience). Finally, the authors offer guidelines for future theory and research to test and extend the model.