I attended the inaugural WFRN (Work Family Researchers Network) conference https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/ in New York last week (14-16 June 2012). The work/family space is a vast area crossing many disciplines (HRM, Sociology, Geography, Psychology, Mediation…) and this conference was a great forum for those interested in the area to interact and share research. There were over 750 attendees from all over the world, which is testimony to the growing interest in this area. It emphasises the need for deeper investigation into how individuals, organisations and society can better reconcile and support individuals in their attempts to positively balance work and non-work.
I gave two presentations at the event. The first considered gender & identity challenges and experiences of female self-initiated expatriates that moved to the South of France, many of whom in dual career relationships. The role overload of juggling work, family, acculturation and career advancement was underlined in the findings. The second paper with a colleague, Dr Graham Heaslip, considered the families of Irish military personnel sent on peacekeeping duties overseas for short temporary assignments (ca. 6 months). We explored the experiences of those affected in our paper and recommended a wider acknowledgement of the family challenges such assignments can cause and/or deepen.
If interested in further information the WFRN Commons is a repository of presentations and papers you can access http://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/content/resources