The discursive possibilities for social entrepreneurs within the discourse of 'work-life balance'

Rebecca Whiting, Helen Roby, Petros Chamakiotis, Gillian Symon

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


    In this paper we examine current debates about work-life balance against a background of changing work practices and the advent of mobile technologies. We contrast the discursive construction of work-life balance in online media with the discursive possibilities available to men and women who construct their identities as ‘social entrepreneurs’ and encounter these issues in their daily lives. In doing so, we draw on data from Web 2.0 media as well as a video diary and narrative interview study.
    Work-life balance (WLB) has been a ‘hot topic’ in research, organizational practice (Mescher, et al., 2010, p 21) and the wider media over several years. Print media representations depict WLB as an individual process, achievement and responsibility for those in professional or corporate jobs, where the ‘life’ component is predominantly represented by family commitments to children (Reece, et al., 2009).
    Within the WLB academic literature, it is often assumed that we live our lives within different social domains (e.g. work, family, community) and that we are expected to play different roles within these domains (e.g. breadwinner, parent, volunteer). Much research in this area has focused on the individual worker and on factors and strategies that affect their (in)ability to manage WLB (Sturges, 2012). Because of the complexity of these role identities, it is argued that we create physical, temporal and psychological boundaries or borders between them (Clark, 2000). Changes in working practices, such as the advent of mobile technologies, affect both where and how we work. It is suggested that the boundaries between work roles and life roles have become increasingly blurred (Harrington and Ladge, 2009) with even a ‘collapse’ of the demarcation of the home/work environment suggested (Wapshott and Mallett, 2012, p 63).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication11th International Conference on Organizational Discourse
    Subtitle of host publicationTerra Firma, Terra Nova, Terra Incognita
    Place of PublicationCardiff
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
    EventInternational Conference on Organizational Discourse: Terra Firma, Terra Nova, Terra Incognita - Cardiff, United Kingdom
    Duration: 9 Jul 201411 Jul 2014
    Conference number: 11


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Organizational Discourse
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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