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Work-life balance and the software worker

Scholarios, D.M. and Marks, A. (2004) Work-life balance and the software worker. Human Resource Management Journal, 14 (2). pp. 54-74. ISSN 0954-5395

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This article examines the impact of employer flexibility to work-life issues and negative spillover from work to non-work life on the attitudes of software developers. Software workers present an interesting case for work-life balance issues - Ackroyd et al (2000) designate them the key occupation to examine in future studies of 'knowledge workers', and Barrett (2001) states that they are the 'vanguard' of new working practices, with the separation of work and life being substantially more 'blurred' than for more traditional occupations. Despite this general perception of the work-life boundary, our results show that intrusion of work into private life for this group of workers still has a substantial impact on work-related attitudes. Work-life boundary variables affect trust in the organisation which plays a mediational role in these variables' relationship to job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Our results suggest that even within this industry, where employees are relatively individualistic in orientation, highly marketable and unlikely to show attachment to a single organisation, mutual gains for employee and employer can be attained by an accommodating approach to non-work commitments which may lead to greater organisational attachment.