3 research outputs found

    Making Sense of New Parents\u27 Working Parent Identities and Boundary-Setting Enactments During Resocialization into the Workplace Following Parental Leave

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    Attending to new parents’ identity sensemaking (Weick, 1995) and work/life boundaries (Buzzanell et al., 2005), this dissertation is divided into four chapters. Chapter One contextualizes my dissertation research and qualitative methodology alongside work/life communication scholarship. Chapters Two and Three contain two stand-alone studies. Finally, Chapter Four integrates Chapter Two and Three findings while also addressing future directions for work/life research. Below, I provide abstract overviews of the empirical studies in Chapters Two and Three. By identifying the macro and meso discourses that emerged in new parents’ identity sensemaking (Weick, 1995), Chapter Two demonstrates how prior worker and new parent identities coalesced into a new working parent identity. Drawing on qualitative interview data from 16 new (working) parents, this study extends work/life and sensemaking research by decentering sensemaking (Introna, 2018) to consider multiple meaning-making agencies and/or contexts (Cooren, 2010; Introna, 2018; Wieland, 2010). Layering a ventriloquial lens (Cooren, 2010) onto my analysis of sensemaking, my findings identify the ventriloquial figures that emerged in new parents’ sensemaking and demonstrate how 1) ventriloquial figures functioned to fracture new parents’ working parent identities and 2) new parents agentically repositioned these figures to construct an evolving working parent identity. Theoretically, this study contributes to understandings of how human and immaterial agency co-constitutes micro-level negotiations of identity. Chapter Three attends to new parents’ boundary-setting enactments (Ashforth et al., 2000) during workplace resocialization following parental leave, a planned organizational change (Lewis, 1999) and workplace transition (Kramer, 2010). I analyze boundary-setting enactments of 16 new parents who returned to the workplace after parental leave through the lens of control and resistance (Zoller & Ban, 2020). My findings illustrate an overarching tension between maintaining a professional identity and enacting a new, complex working parent identity during resocialization, and demonstrate how new parents enacted control and resistance in identity, time, and topic boundary-setting contexts by aligning with professional norms or privileging a complex working parent identity. Examining new parents’ blurred work/life boundaries and tensioned identities during organizational resocialization, this study contributes to theoretical understandings of the reciprocal influence between micro work/life boundary-setting enactments and meso organizational structures (i.e., professional norms)

    Communication Technology and Social Support to Navigate Work/Life Conflict During Covid-19 and Beyond

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    Drawing on a national survey of 447 U.S. workers who transitioned to remote work during COVID-19, this study examined how different types of communication technologies (CTs) used for work and private life were associated with work/life conflicts and perceptions of social support across different relationship types (coworker, family, and friends). Findings indicated that work/life conflicts became aggravated when the use of CTs violated relational norms (e.g., mobile texting with coworkers and emailing with family and friends). On the other hand, uses of CTs that were perceived to offer access to social support (e.g., instant messaging with coworkers and friends) were related to lower work/life conflict. Social media (e.g., Facebook) had a direct relationship to higher work/life conflict, but an indirect relationship to lower work/life conflict through social support. Overall, findings suggest that individuals attempt to create work/life boundaries by selecting specific CTs when physical work/life boundaries are collapsed