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Work‐life balance: an exploratory study of supports and barriers in a construction project

Work‐life balance: an exploratory study of supports and barriers in a construction project Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore employees' perceptions of work‐life balance (WLB) in an Australian infrastructure construction project, using semi‐structured focus groups. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 43 employees participated in the focus groups, representing 50 per cent of the project workforce at the time. Focus groups explored employees' experiences of WLB during the planning and design stage of the project, as well as their expectations for the management of WLB during the construction phase. Findings – Project culture, project resourcing and the schedule demands of the construction stage of the project were identified as barriers for WLB, while participants believed that the “project alliance” delivery model, flexibility of working hours and the project management team's support for WLB would facilitate WLB in the project. Research limitations/implications – Data were collected from one case study project which utilised an alliance delivery model. Therefore, the results cannot be generalised to the construction industry as a whole or to construction projects utilising an alliance delivery model. Data were collected from professional and white collar workers therefore the results cannot be generalised to blue collar workers. The research findings suggest new directions for future research in WLB related to project settings. Practical implications – The study will provide project managers with a better understanding of work‐life experiences of project teams and highlight the barriers and facilitating factors for WLB. Originality/value – WLB has been widely investigated in static work settings, however it is not well understood how research findings translate to project settings as little research has been conducted in this area. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managing Projects in Business Emerald Publishing

Work‐life balance: an exploratory study of supports and barriers in a construction project

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1753-8378
DOI
10.1108/17538370910930536
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore employees' perceptions of work‐life balance (WLB) in an Australian infrastructure construction project, using semi‐structured focus groups. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 43 employees participated in the focus groups, representing 50 per cent of the project workforce at the time. Focus groups explored employees' experiences of WLB during the planning and design stage of the project, as well as their expectations for the management of WLB during the construction phase. Findings – Project culture, project resourcing and the schedule demands of the construction stage of the project were identified as barriers for WLB, while participants believed that the “project alliance” delivery model, flexibility of working hours and the project management team's support for WLB would facilitate WLB in the project. Research limitations/implications – Data were collected from one case study project which utilised an alliance delivery model. Therefore, the results cannot be generalised to the construction industry as a whole or to construction projects utilising an alliance delivery model. Data were collected from professional and white collar workers therefore the results cannot be generalised to blue collar workers. The research findings suggest new directions for future research in WLB related to project settings. Practical implications – The study will provide project managers with a better understanding of work‐life experiences of project teams and highlight the barriers and facilitating factors for WLB. Originality/value – WLB has been widely investigated in static work settings, however it is not well understood how research findings translate to project settings as little research has been conducted in this area.

Journal

International Journal of Managing Projects in BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 23, 2009

Keywords: Project management; Construction industry; Hours of work; Australia; Employee attitudes

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