Relational processes enabling the balancing of academic work and motherhood : a grounded theory study with academic women at a South African university

Poulos, Tessa (2011) Relational processes enabling the balancing of academic work and motherhood : a grounded theory study with academic women at a South African university. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Through the use of contextual data, this research study aims to explicate a theory about the experiences of academic women, who are also mothers, employed at a South African University. The research is interpretive in nature as it explores the women's accounts of the conflicts they face in striving to satisfy the demands of both their scholarly work and family responsibilities within multiple intersecting factors related to their personal/familial circumstances, and the strategic processes they engage in to manage the balance between these competing roles. The study followed a constructivist grounded theory design in an attempt to test the hypothesis (emerging from a prior pilot study) that the most significant enabling factors at work in the lives of these women comprise various relational support processes. The findings indicate that balancing academic work and mothering is a delicate activity that is sensitive to a number of facilitating as well as hindering factors. The participants revealed that they experience work-family role-conflict as a result of competing desires to dedicate themselves fully to both of these roles. The relational factors most prominently cited as being critical to enabling a work-family balance include the presence of a supportive partner, a support structure in the home in the form of an employed domestic helper, and the support derived from a 'shared experience' with other working mothers. Non-relational factors emanating from the unique quality of life afforded to mothers by employment within the particular case institution also emerged as being significantly enabling of a work-family balance for this group of academic mothers.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Working mothers, South Africa, Grahamstown, Women in education, Work and family, Rhodes University, Motherhood, Sex role in the work environment
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
ID Code:2987
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:18 Jun 2012 08:02
Last Modified:18 Jun 2012 08:02
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