This study focuses on nation-level drivers of organizations' adoption of leaves/childcare and flexible work arrangements (FWA) beyond what is mandated by the state. It is one of the first studies to examine interaction effects between nation-level and organization-level variables. Drawing on institutional theory and work-life research, we focus on three nation-level variables: state support for combining work and family life (original measure including statutory parental leave, public childcare and the entitlement to extend or reduce working hours), cultural centrality of work (measure derived from the World Value Survey, a large project led by Inglehart and colleagues that measures values in more than 50 countries) and male unemployment rate. We test the interactions of these variables with organizational size, sector and proportion of female employees using a data set of 19,516 organizations in 19 European countries (Establishment Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance 2004-2005). State support for combining work and family life was positively associated with the adoption of leaves/childcare and FWA; cultural centrality of work was negatively associated with leaves/childcare and FWA; male unemployment rate was not significantly associated with any. Public sector and large organizations were more sensitive to state support, cultural centrality of work and male unemployment than private sector and small organizations. In contrast, organizations employing a greater proportion of female employees were less sensitive to state support. These findings illustrate that organizational policies are influenced by the national contexts in which they are embedded, although some organizations are more sensitive to these contexts than others.

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European Management Journal
Erasmus School of Economics

den Dulk, L, Groeneveld, S.M, Ollier-Malaterre, A, & Valcour, M. (2013). National context in work-life research: A multi-level cross-national analysis of the adoption of workplace work-life arrangements in Europe. European Management Journal, 31(5), 478–494. doi:10.1016/j.emj.2013.04.010