How do you take time? Work–life balance policies versus neoliberal, social and cultural incentive mechanisms in Icelandic higher education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is suggested that the realization of work–life balance policies at the University of Iceland is compromised by an emphasis on neoliberal notions of growth and performance measurements in the form of new public management strategies. This is sustained by overt and covert incentive mechanisms, which in turn create a range of different gendered implications for academic staff. The results from semi-structured interviews suggest that while this tension field affects all academic staff, it is generally less favourable to women than to men. If women were granted time for the sake of family obligations, they risked a setback in their academic career due to decreased research activity. Women tended to view academic flexibility as an opportunity to engage in domestic responsibilities more so than men; and male interviewees tended to view the prioritization of family as a choice, while women tended to view it as a condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-140
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Volume16
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.

Other keywords

  • Gender
  • incentive mechanisms
  • neoliberalism
  • new public management
  • work–life balance

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