UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Business Administration

  • Authors:
  • Maria Carioca


The aim of this research is to present empirical evidence on the effects of framing the business commitment to work-family life issues as a corporate social responsibility.Some authors (Pitt-Catsouphes and Googins, 2004, Goodstein, 1994b) have already claimed the need for recasting the work-family agenda as a corporate social responsibility, by considering employees and their families as a social concern fundamental for sustainability. However further research is missing. The core of this research is the confrontation and cross-analysis of both arenas and literatures.The research consisted of a national cross-sectional study based on a set of twelve medium-large Portuguese firms, aggregated in four clusters grouped by economic activity: Banking and Financial Services, Wholesale and Retail, Transport and Utilities Services. Different research methods were used: a survey and in-depth semi-structured interviews. The survey was answered by the human resources managers and 2472 employees. Sixty interviews were performed. The triangulation of different perspectives and research methods enhanced the study with insightful conclusions.The analysis situated the firms according to their work-family life policies, culture and corporate social responsibility approaches, in a general map describing the panorama regarding the way firms consider their role in society (Garriga and Mele, 2004). In line with the literature, the study also assessed that a gap existing between the institutional perspective and the employees' perception of the value and accessibility of work-family initiatives and an organization's overall family-supportiveness (e.g. Parker and Allen, 2001, Allen, 2001, O'Driscoll et al., 2003). The research revealed that there is a relationship between the organization and employees' perceptions gap and the alignment (or misalignment) between the approaches to both fields: work-family practices and corporate social responsibility. Whereas inconsistency between both approaches was detrimental for the perception of the employees, regarding organizational supportiveness alignment between them proved to reinforce perceptions regarding initiatives in both fields. By establishing the bridge between these two normally separately studied themes, the research opens doors to new directions of work. It also confirms the importance of a holistic view of the organization and its role towards its people and society.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2012