This paper investigates the considerations of top managers regarding work-life arrangements. A dynamic and contextual approach is taken, using data from 26 semi-structured interviews with top managers from 13 organizations in 2008, before the economic crisis began, and again in 2011, when the ensuing recessions were well under way. Analysis shows that work-life arrangements are increasingly perceived by top managers as integrated into their organizations. However, they indicate that such arrangements should benefit both the employees and the organization. If the consequences of work-life arrangements are perceived by top managers to be negative for their organization, they establish conditions for their use by employees so as to reduce the effect on the organization, rather than refrain from providing the arrangements altogether. During the economic crisis, top managers grew more cost-aware and expressed more concern about negative consequences for their organization. Government regulations are perceived as ‘only normal,’ but in the end top managers wish to remain in control of arrangements. If the law leaves room for interpretation, the Dutch top managers in this study used this freedom to bend the arrangements to suit their own ideas.

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Community, Work & Family
Department of Public Administration

Been, W. M., den Dulk, L., & van der Lippe, T. (2016). Dutch top managers and work-life arrangements in times of economic crisis. Community, Work & Family, 19(1), 43–62. doi:10.1080/13668803.2015.1013019