Time of your life : exploring the influence of popular messages on enactments and construals of "work-life" time



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Popular messages not only illuminate many of the struggles people experience wrestling with the tensions between work and home life, but these popular texts also influence the behaviors of those who consume them. They not only reflect organizational members' experiences, but they also shape what they do. The following dissertation provides a theoretical discussion that conceptualizes and locates popular messages within dominant cultural patterns and explores the role of popular discourse in socializing organizational members. Next, "work-life" research is understood in terms of enactments and construals of time. This discussion not only develops a temporal perspective for "work-life" research, but also highlights inequalities embedded in the current "work-life" research. A narrative approach is offered as a theoretical perspective and methodological tool for uncovering perspectives. Sixty-seven participants are interviewed, and findings suggest differing perspectives on work-life balance, work-life expectations, and the role popular messages play in shaping work-life expectations vary along gender, socioeconomic, and generational lines. Further, analyses of interview data reveal gender and socioeconomic inequalities exist within the "work-life" construct and differing construals of time.