Men, fathers and work: the challenge of reconciliation. Case studies in some Italian companies

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Abstract

In the postmodern era, the transformations in masculinity have become a relevant issue: the traditional differentiation between male and female tasks (men more related to work and women to home) is no longer sustainable and needs to be reconsidered. Thus, the complex issue of balancing family and work represents a relevant challenge also for men. Several empirical studies highlight, in fact, a transformation of the father role, both in Italy and abroad, which implies a “more involved” and “new” father style. Nevertheless a strong relation with work remains a pivotal trait shaping men’s identity, especially in Italy. In this context, the paper presents findings from a study on working fathers, conducted in Italy between April 2010 and February 2011 and aimed to understand how men manage the "double role" of fathers and workers, and how companies support their employees’ needs. The hypothesis leading this research is that the expression of the father's role and the paternal reconciliation strategy are strongly influenced by the workplace. In particular, 3 case studies were produced, using a qualitative research technique. In total, 45 interviews were carried out: semi-structured interviews with managers, focused on corporate culture, and narrative interviews with employees (fathers of young children), focused on the transition to parenthood. The fathers interviewed were able to actively reflect on their experiences and regarded the family and work reconciliation as a matter for men too. Company culture emerged as a central, powerful element shaping male reconciliation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-30
Number of pages20
JournalQuaderni del Centro Studi e Ricerche sulla Famiglia
Volume2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • aziende
  • companies
  • conciliazione
  • fathers
  • lavoro
  • padri
  • reconciliation
  • work

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