Gender, Work & Organisation

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Volume 22 Issue 3 (May 2015), Pages 197-307

Self‐Employment as a Strategy for Dealing with the Competing Demands of Work and Family? The Importance of Family/Lifestyle Motives (pages 256-272)

In this paper, we test the argument that self‐employment may be a strategy for dealing with competing demands of work and family. We do this by comparing work–family conflict experienced by self‐employed and employed men and women. By examining to what extent the self‐employed versus regularly employed value time for themselves and their family — i.e., whether they are driven by family/lifestyle motives in their working life — we examine whether self‐employment can help reduce work–family conflict among those guided by family/lifestyle motives. Using data from a 2011 Swedish survey of 2483 self‐employed and 2642 regularly employed, the analyses indicate that experiences of work–family conflict differ between self‐employed and employees. Self‐employed men and women, especially those with employees, generally experience more work–family conflict than do employees. However, self‐employment can sometimes be a strategy for dealing with competing demands of work and family life. The presence of family/lifestyle motives generally decreases the probability of experiencing work–family conflict, particularly among self‐employed women with employees.

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