EFFECT: Cross-national Polish–Norwegian project on work–life balance

Project title: Enhancing the effectiveness of work–life balance initiatives use
Project period: 2013–2016

Funded by the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme under the EEA Grants/Norway Grants funding scheme

Research group:

  • Senior Researcher Margunn Bjørnholt, Policy and Social Research (POLICY), Norway
  • Senior Researcher Kari Stefansen, Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), Norway
  • Senior Researcher Dorota Merecz-Kot, Department of Occupational Psychology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Poland
  • Researcher Anna Najder, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Poland
  • Researcher Agata Wężyk, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Poland
  • Maria Elisabeth Holter, graduate student, NOVA/University of Oslo, Norway

Aims:

The project aims to study understandings and practices of work–life balance (WLB) among dual earner couples in Poland and Norway. The research is aimed particularly at WLB measures for couples with young children: paid parental leave, the father’s quota, cash for care benefits and formal daycare.

Research questions include:

  • How is WLB understood by men and women in different parts of the work life and in different policy contexts?
  • How are existing WLB measures used and combined, and what factors are associated with the use of different measures in different parts of the work life and in different policy contexts?
  • On a theoretical level the project will deal with issues such as policy transferability and the relationship between policy measures and social change towards gender equality.

Methods:
The project is multilevel and will use both quantitative and qualitative methods. A survey will be conducted twice among a sample of employees in both Norway and Poland. For the qualitative part we will use the method of focus groups and interview polish migrants living in Norway with care responsibilities for children under the age of 6 (either in Norway, Poland or both). Focus groups will also be conducted in Poland, among Polish working parents and in Norway, among Norwegian working parents. For the focus groups we will recruit men and women from different parts of the work life – aiming to sample both middle-class / professional families (academics, health workers) and working-class / non-professional families (construction work, cleaning, service work).