Life After Burberry: Shifting Experiences of Work and Non-Work Life Following Redundancy

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Work, Employment & Society
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Life after Burberry: shifting experiences of work and non-work life following redundancy
Paul Blyton and Jean Jenkins
Work Employment Society 2012 26: 26
DOI: 10.1177/0950017011426306
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Beyond redundancy: article

Life after Burberry:
shifting experiences of
work and non-work life
following redundancy

Work, Employment and Society
26(1) 26–41
© The Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission: sagepub.
co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
DOI: 10.1177/0950017011426306
wes.sagepub.com

Paul Blyton

Cardiff University, UK

Jean Jenkins

Cardiff University, UK

Abstract
This article sheds new light on neglected areas of recent ‘work-life’ discussions. Drawing on a study of a largely female workforce made redundant by factory relocation, the majority subsequently finding alternative employment in a variety of work settings, the results illustrate aspects of both positive and negative spillover from work to non-work life. In addition, the findings add to the growing number of studies that highlight the conditions under which part-time working detracts from, rather than contributes to, successful work-life balance. The conclusion discusses the need for a more multi-dimensional approach to work-life issues.

Keywords
part-time work, positive/negative spillover, redundancy, re-employment, work-life balance

Introduction
Recent discussion of the relationship between work and non-work life – much of it focused on the notion of work-life balance – has tended to give preference to two aspects of that relationship over others. First, there has been a marked tendency to consider the impact of work on non-work life to a much greater extent than vice versa. Second, as

Corresponding author:
Jean Jenkins, Cardiff University, Aberconway Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU, Wales, UK. Email: Jenkinsj1@cardiff.ac.uk

Downloaded from wes.sagepub.com at University of Bath on March 21, 2013

27

Blyton and Jenkins

Guest (2002: 260) has pointed out, there has been an equal tendency to explore ‘work-life conflict’ rather than examine possible positive associations within that relationship. For Guest (2002: 263), this reflects a widely held view that over the past generation the pressure of work has become a more dominant feature of many people’s lives, as a result of among other things perceived increases in work demands and a widespread expectation to show commitment by working long hours (see, for example, McGovern et al., 2007; Perlow, 1999). Coupled with the growth in female labour market participation, particularly among women with dependent children, this is seen to increase pressure on non-work activity by reducing the time and/or energy available to fulfil outside responsibilities.

Where the possibility for positive ‘spillover’ (Staines, 1980) between work and nonwork life has been examined, this has mainly been undertaken by social psychologists, generally approaching the issue both from an individual perspective and with the non-work focus primarily on the family. Examples include studies that have identified a positive association between an individual’s job satisfaction and their satisfaction with family life (for example, Near et al., 1987). Less attention has been...
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