This project aims to contribute to a better understanding of work-life conflict and the negotiation of parenthood in professional service firms (PSFs) from a cross-national comparative perspective (France, Romania and the UK). These countries provide very different cultural and institutional settings and as work and parenting norms are culturally and institutionally shaped, conducting cross-national research will allow a more nuanced understanding of the complex interactions between the two. PSFs provide particularly rich settings to study work-life conflict due to the long working hours and client availability requirements. As knowledge-intensive firms, the value of PSFs is based primarily on their professional workers. Developing and keeping their human resources is therefore fundamentally important to PSFs in terms of competitiveness, productivity, professional integrity and reputation.
In-depth interviews will be used to examine how professional identities and parenthood are embedded within organizational policies and practices shaped by national contexts.
This research is innovative as it takes a holistic view of parenting and work-life conflict by adopting a multilevel approach and by focusing on parenthood rather than motherhood. This project is very timely as it addresses directly two key issues currently on the agenda of the EU and its member states: (1) the matter of gender diversity in economic leadership positions; and (2) the impact of parental leave on professionals’ careers, as well as reinsertion upon return. In addition, my project is highly relevant to the ERA as: (1) it is interdisciplinary, (2) it provides me with excellent training and international collaborations which will significantly advance my future career. Against the backdrop of globalization and economic recession, my research will contribute to making Europe a more competitive and more dynamic knowledge-based economy.
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