The purpose of
this article is to examine the demands of work and family, and to gain a better
understanding of the effects of family economic structure on the family and
career satisfaction of husband and wives.
Throughout the years there has been substantial increases in women’s
rate of labor force participation, which has attributed to major changes in the
economic structure of families.
According to Waismel-Manor, Levanon and Tolbert (2016) in 1970, 50% of
all married couples between the ages of 25 and 54 had an economic structure in
which the husband was the sole earner, by 2001 that shrunk to 25% and the
dominant form of family had become dual earner. In some cases the wife had
become the primary earner of the family therefore baring little resemblance to
the previous normative. There are many that are interested in the changing
dynamics of economic structure and the implications that it causes within the
functioning of the household. Researchers
also found throughout their study that there was little empirical work that has
theorized the role between economic structure and observed rates of divorce or
patterns of household labor. They also found that career satisfaction and the
impact of economic structure is largely uncharted territory. Career satisfaction has been studied as an
important influence on turnover, employee motivation, and other outcomes
related to organizational success (Waismel-Manor, Levanon and Tolbert,
2016). Furthermore, it is thought that
husbands and wives will use their spouses as a point of comparison in
evaluating their own personal individual work achievements.
article examines the three following questions in order to expand their
research on variations in family economic structure (a) whether family economic
structure does impact family satisfaction as implied by previous research, (b)
whether the influence of family economic structure extends to career
satisfaction, and (c) whether there are differences between husbands and wives
in terms of these impacts (Waismel-Manor, Levanon and Tolbert, 2016). The
article also delves into what they call the “doing gender” perspective in which
they use to explain the meaning that spouses attach to family economic
structure. This approach is based on the
premise that gender is produced and reproduced actively in everyday
interactions between men and women and displayed in counter normative
situations (Waismel-Manor, Levanon and Tolbert, 2016).
hypothesis that family economic structure will affect both family and career
satisfaction and that these will vary by gender. They more specifically propose
that the more the equal the earnings of husband and wives the lower the level
of family satisfaction it will be. They also hypothesis that the more equal the
earnings of spouses, the higher the level of the wives career satisfaction will
be and the lower the husbands career satisfaction will be.
order to test their hypothesis they used data from a two-panel Ecology career
study, the sample was that of middle class, U.S, dual-earner couples.
Participants were interviewed in two waves, 2 years apart, beginning in 1998
and continuing through 2002. The Ecology of Careers Study is comprised of three
research initiatives all in which were conducted in upstate New York. The first
two samples were respondents working for 11 major employers representing a
diverse range of industries and the third sample was a collection of
individuals living in the neighboring area census. All respondents were paid $25.00 for their
participation in the study and were interviewed using a computer assisted
telephone interview. The interview
lasted approximately 40-60 minutes; information was collected on current work
and family characteristics, as well as life histories for all of the 4,637
participants in the first wave and 3,893 participants in the second wave. Waismel-Manor,
Levanon and Tolbert (2016) examined two dependent variables, family satisfaction
and career satisfaction. Both categories
were measured using a five-item scale 1 relating to never and 5 relating to
always for all items, because the measures were dichotomized they used logistic
regression models to assess the impact of the outcomes. Some of the questions consisted of “you are
satisfied that you can turn to your family for help when something is troubling
you”; “you are satisfied that your family accepts and supports your wishes to
take on new activities or directions”; “I am satisfied with the success I have
achieved in my career”.
hypothesis that they proposed explicitly takes into account gender differences
in the association between family economic form and satisfaction and well as
the interaction between economic form and gender. Therefore it was important to
take them all into account when comparing and contrasting results. What was
founded did not support their first hypothesis because there was not a
significant correlation across the three models. However, they were able to show that family
satisfaction decreased in transitioning households where earning became more
equal or the wife became the breadwinner. They also found that the results
varied if children were involved, normally there was a negative association
with overall satisfaction and health, which was a positive indicator. They were
also able to show that when there was greater equality in the home there was a
higher association of satisfaction among women and lower satisfaction among men
(Waismel-Manor, Levanon and Tolbert, 2016).
the end researchers found that there were negligible effects of family economic
structure on family satisfaction with husbands or wives. However their research
did suggest that overall family satisfaction is significantly reduced when
there are dual earners and there is a shift in financial equality. Models were
able to show that when a women’s earning increases relative to her husbands
there is a strong increase in career satisfaction, whereas that of the husband
is significantly decreased.
the strength of the article was lacking and more important components should
have been added in order to be able to analyze different dynamics of career
satisfaction and relationships. One particular limitation of the study was its
lack of substance in its participants.
They primarily worked with U.S middle class citizens who were working
full time. It would have been
interesting to add different dynamics; such as same sex couples, stay at home
moms new to the work force, etc. It would
be important to look at data for a longer duration of time, two years does not
seem like a sufficient amount of time to truly gain an in-depth perspective of
career satisfaction and family conflict. However, the topic is something that
is important to study especially for career counselors who will be faced with
such cliental circumstances.
family economical structures is important when trying to address psychological
and behavioral attitudes related to such.
Waismel-Manor, Levanon and Tolbert (2016), does point out that
dissemination of information about changing patterns of family earners may help
expedite the alignment between social expectations that shape individual
relations within the family and economic reality.