Beyond work and life: Constructing new domains in the digital age

Rebecca Whiting, Helen Roby, Gillian Symon, Petros Chamakiotis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Work-life balance (WLB) is a metaphor for resolving the temporal conflict as we struggle to deal with competing demands on our time from different domains, broadly conceptualised as ‘work’ and ‘life’. The concept of WLB has been widely criticised (e.g. Wapshott & Mallett, 2012) and contemporary use of digital technologies adds further complexity to this struggle (Duxbury, Higgins, Smart, & Stevenson, 2014). In this paper we focus on ‘switching’, whereby participants capture on video their everyday self-defined transitions between or within digital/physical domains, as a means of exploring how they construct the demarcations salient to them. In this paper, we examine the contribution of ‘switching’ to our understanding of the dynamics of domain construction, maintenance and boundary 2 management. Through our exploration of how participants ‘switch’ between domains in their daily lives, we consider this specifically in the context of an ‘online’ domain (not limited to ‘work’ or ‘life’). We introduce the idea of technological mirroring and the challenges it presents to managing the online domain boundary. We examine the wider implications of how technology is integrated into work and life and also what have been considered to be third places. We suggest this may offer potentially new ways of conceptualising the traditional domains of ‘work’ and ‘life’ and the implications of this for the study of WLB.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
EventEGOS Colloquium: Organizations and the Examined Life: Reason, Reflexivity and Responsibility - The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
Duration: 2 Jul 20154 Jul 2015
Conference number: 31


ConferenceEGOS Colloquium
Internet address

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    Whiting, R., Roby, H., Symon, G., & Chamakiotis, P. (2015). Beyond work and life: Constructing new domains in the digital age . Paper presented at EGOS Colloquium, Athens, Greece.