Employee benefits and high-tech fatherhood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This study, inspired by the theory of the separate spheres, considers the social circumstances of employee benefits, examining the needs of fathers in dual-earner families to cope with work and family responsibilities. The purpose of this paper is to explore how high-tech managers view the work-family interface of R&D engineers and analyzes the typical package of discretionary, non-financial, work-family employee benefits. Design/methodology/approach - Relying on the phenomenological approach, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 22 private-sector managers disclosed their shared perception and experience, revealing the informal level at which underlying social principles becomes business strategy, often intuitively. Findings - Values of gender are assimilated into the informal environment and reflected in the selection of benefits which have been effective in attracting labor in demand. Recently these values have been challenged by new ideas of more involved fatherhood, and these are inadequately addressed by the package of benefits. Research limitations/implications - Larger samples from various socio-cultural settings are needed. Practical implications - Managers are advised not to be blinded by the financial worth of discretionary employee benefits and consider how these meet the actual, as opposed to stereotypical, needs of employees and their family members. Observing social dynamics and considering non-financial consequences of employee benefits are essential for business-society continuity. Also, organizations of relatively low-social diversity should not alienate themselves from their multicultural environment. Social implications - The study unveils the reciprocity between organizations and people. Traditional fatherhood is being contested and negotiated at the work-family interface, as embedded to ongoing changes in the social meaning of gender. That employee benefits help to maintain the masculinity of high-tech, reflects also on gender segregation in the workplace. Originality/value - The study illustrates how businesses apply social values and describes how such values are processed and reinstated in society as employee benefits.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)535-549
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2015


  • Employee benefits
  • Fatherhood
  • Gender
  • High-Tech
  • Work-Family

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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