The Taylorisation of family time: An effective strategy in the struggle to 'manage' work and life?
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Research suggests that perceptions of time pressure are increasing and are particularly acute in households where both parents combine paid work with household and caring responsibilities. What specific strategies do working parents use to 'manage' the three-way juggling act of 'his' job, 'her' job, and family responsibilities, while still finding time for leisure and civic contribution? This question was addressed in a series of focus groups conducted in NSW and Queensland in 2003/2004 that are part of a larger study investigating issues of work/life balance among parents in dual-earner households in Australia. In reviewing the range of strategies used to 'manage' competing demands on parental and family time, our data lend support to Arlie Hochschild's observation in The Time Bind (1997: 45-46) that family time has taken on an 'industrial tone', is succumbing to 'a cult of efficiency previously associated with the workplace', and is linked to Taylor's idea of scientific management. Use of task lists, work rosters and travel itineraries (often displayed on the family fridge), as well as the deliberate scheduling of 'quality' family time and outsourcing of domestic services related to children's leisure activities, family entertainment and food, bear testimony to the ways in which time is often micro-managed in the interests of efficiency. But with what effect? We question the effectiveness of such strategies in promoting work/life balance in the context of debates about the impact of hurried lifestyles on personal relationships, parental satisfaction, family integration and individual wellbeing.
Annals of Leisure Research
Copyright 2005 Australian & New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies (ANZALS). The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.