Friday, 2 November 2012

When work keeps us apart: a thematic analysis of the experience of business travellers

an article by Helen Nicholas (HCNPsychology, Frome, Somerset) and Almuth McDowall (School of Psychology, University of Surrey), Community, Work & Family Volume 15 Issue 3 (2012)


Whilst business travel is deemed important for organisational success and economic outcomes, little is known about the actual process of business travelling from the perspective of individuals who undertake such travel on a regular basis.

Thus the current qualitative study examined how business travellers (three women and eight men) attempt to find a balance between work and family, by focusing on how time together and time apart are experienced.

The results can be interpreted and framed within work/family border theory in that business travellers’ borders are less defined and less permeable, thus requiring them to border-cross more frequently. This necessitates a process of negotiation with key border-keepers (their spouse/partner).

Business travellers also undertake compensatory behaviours to make up their time away from family. In order to find a work/family balance, they go through a process of adapting, negotiating and tailoring their lives around their work commitments to alleviate work–life conflict.

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