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Work or family? : A study about work-life balance and availability for work and family in China

  • Karlberg, Julia
  • Lövgren, Felicia
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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The purpose of this thesis is to gain a deeper understanding of how the Chinese prioritize between work and family and how the culture can affect it. Nowadays, availability and work-life balance are often mentioned in a Western context, in this thesis we want to bring it into a Chinese context instead. China has  the largest population in the world but there is not so much previous research in this field. Thus, it was of interest to us to do our research on the work-life balance and availability in China. Chinese culture is strong and plays an important role for the Chinese in their daily lives. In Chinese culture, family relations are important also it is not just the relationship with the core of the family that is important, but also with the parents or parents- in- law. In this thesis we will show how the Chinese strike a balance between work and family and how they prioritize these two spheres. Other questions that will be dealt with are whether or not the employees of private organizations prioritize differently to the employees of public organizations. We have used a qualitative method and have interviewed ten people from both public and private organizations to gain a deeper understanding. We interviewed both men and women with administrative job. Another criterion was that the respondents had to have a child. We used this criterion since we wanted a deeper understanding of how they prioritize when they have a child and are still active in working life. The respondents all had fairly much the same conditions when it came to their duties and family situations, but their opinions regarding their work-life balance were different depending on which organization they belonged to. In the analysis and results chapter, you as a reader will notice different factors affecting the respondents priorities between work and family, for an example their living situations, finances and ages of their children. Availability is often connected with the opportunity to have flexible working hours or working from home since it can help you to be available for family and work at the same time. One distinct difference that we noticed is that the respondents from different organizations had different opinions regarding this opportunity. People with flexible working hours seemed to have a much harder time separating family from work than those with fixed working hours. 

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