Work and Family Arrangements in Europe: Exploring the influence of country-level and organizational-level factors

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This research aims to investigate the effects of several country-level and organizational-level factors on the incidence of work and family arrangements (WFA). Looking at both the state involvement (work and family policies) and employer involvement within organizations. In order to do this, multiple multilevel-regression analyses were carried out with data from the international CRANET dataset. The results showed that the relationship between state involvement and employer involvement in terms of child support, was negative. Thus, supporting the crowding-out theory, which proposed that employers were less inclined to offer the arrangements when they were already in place at a state level. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that organizations that are in a tight labour market, would offer more WFA’s (employer involvement) to retain and attract talent. The hypothesis was partly accepted for flexible work arrangements (FWA), which implies that employers would offer more FWA’s to their employees when the labour market is tight. To investigate the effects of national culture, several dimensions of Hofstede (1980) and House et al. (2004) were included. The results showed that gender egalitarianism has a positive relationship with employer involvement, except for childcare support. However, this might be explained by the crowding-out theory that was found to be true for childcare support. The relationship between collectivism and FWA’s was negative, as hypothesized. Lastly, it was hypothesized that state involvement acts as a mediator between national culture and employer involvement, however this was rejected. In terms of theoretical contributions this research offers a broad scope focused on multiple WFA’s, across several European countries. It shows that various country-level and organizational-level factors play a role with WFA’s, both offered by employers and by the state. This research can be used by policymakers, HR-managers, multinationals etc. within their decisions about WFA’s. For example, when decisions need to be made on the balance between state and employer involvement, or in a way to promote gender equality and a healthy work-life balance. It provides a basic understanding of how the WFA’s are perceived in various types of cultures and what role they play in certain labour market conditions.
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