Dr. Renee Guarriello Heath (Communication Studies – CST) shares news of a just-published research article entitled Generational Perspectives in the Workplace: Interpreting the Discourses That Constitute Women’s Struggle to Balance Work and Life. Co-authored with CST M.A. graduate Linda Williams Favero, Heath said this national report adds evidence and insight for “anyone who has ever encountered the concepts of ‘paying your dues’ or needing to put in ‘face-time’ at work. Those who have experienced intergenerational or gendered conflict over these ideas may be especially interested.”
The study investigated how and why professional women may clash about managing work-life balance due to being socialized within different generations. Using interpretive focus group findings, the study explored “paying one’s dues” and “face-time” as two prime discourses women use to unpack and interpret their thoughts, feelings, and actions about that key workplace tension. “Organizational communication research is very interested in the idea of how we use communication to produce and reproduce what work/life balance means. Ultimately the idea of work/life balance is negotiated through communication at and around work” says Renee. This study deconstructs these women’s interpretations and offers a hopeful starting point for conversations that can help bridge perspectives regarding work/life balance.
This article had its genesis while Favero was completing her UP Masters degree in Communication. As Dr. Heath reports, “Linda was very excited about researching intergenerational conflict, and work/life balance emerged as a location in which different interpretations by differing generations of workers bumped up against each other. Linda’s work was an extension of my own research interests in organizational communication and personal interests in balancing work and life. CST’s Masters degree program facilitated a format for us to conduct this research – what began as a study for a qualitative research class turned into an extended project with multiple studies that culminated in this publication. Her CST graduate studies gave Linda opportunities to study this subject matter across several courses and a culminating project.” This research also found an appreciative audience last year with Oregon Women in Higher Education (OWHE).
The article appears in the most recent issue of the Journal of Business Communication, published by Sage: http://job.sagepub.com/content/49/4/332.abstract