The (in)compatibility of identities: Understanding gender differences in work-life conflict through the fit with leaders

Morgenroth, T., Ryan, M., Rink, F. & Begany, C., 9-Aug-2020, In : British Journal of Social Psychology. 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Women's concerns about work-life balance are cited as a key factor underlying their continued underrepresentation in particular domains and roles. This gendered pattern is often attributed to factors in the home, such as women's disproportionate share of domestic work and childcare responsibilities. We offer an additional explanation that focuses on workplace identities. Across four studies, we demonstrate that perceptions of work-life balance are not only a matter of balancing time, but also a matter of balancing identity, and that the availability of attainable leaders plays a key role in determining these processes. More specifically, a survey study (Study 1,N = 1223) among participants working in a historically male-dominated profession shows that gender differences in work-life balance perceptions are, in part, explained by women's perceived lack of fit with leaders and, in turn, their perceptions of incompatibility between who they are at home and who they are at work. In Studies 2 (N = 207), 3a (N = 209), and 3b (N = 191), we demonstrate that gender differences in anticipated work-life balance can be ameliorated through exposure to attainable female leaders. These findings have implications for organizations that seek to recruit and retain women and demonstrate that issues of identity are crucial for facilitating work-life balance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Early online date9-Aug-2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9-Aug-2020


  • Work-life balance, fit, gender, identity compatibility, work-life compatibility, FAMILY CONFLICT, BALANCE, WOMEN, COMPATIBILITY, CONSTRUCTION, STEREOTYPES, VALIDATION, PREDICTORS, PARENTHOOD, IMPACT

ID: 130707542