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留学生毕业论文:Gender and human resource management: a(8)

companies are doing to help individuals combine work and family roles. A strong
theme throughout this work is that these types of HR strategies are developed because
of several business-related pressures. Some pressures relate to preventing productivity
losses associated with dependent care or a lack of work/family balance, while others are
seen as presenting opportunities for organizations. Brannen and Lewis, for example,
quote a study of 243 large companies which showed that women returned to work after
maternity leave sooner in nine of ten companies that offered family-friendly
beneŽ ts.
This edited volume presents an impressive and well-structured account of how
national cultures and social policies place constraints on, or provide encouragement for,
men’s and women’s sharing of breadwinning and childcare roles as well as the
development of gender-equitable work–family policies and practices within work
organizations. An international perspective is adopted that enables authors to examine
common challenges and solutions that may or may not work across country lines. The
book is divided into three parts. Part 1 provides detailed accounts of the status of
mothers and fathers in the labour market in the four countries. It concludes that trends
evident in all the countries are remarkably similar despite very different public policy
orientations and social forces. Even in ‘enlightened’ Sweden, Bjornberg argues,
Swedish women are experiencing a backlash in their attempt to achieve equal
participation in the labour market. ‘Traditional gender discrimination is being
revitalised by stiffer competition in the labour market, in which men are favoured. By
earning more, men can set the conditions for participation in family life at the expense
of women’ (p. 73).
However, it is in Parts 2 and 3 of this volume that emphasis is placed on the
importance of cultural change and the conditions that hinder or facilitate the
development of work–family policies. These parts provide detailed information about
the practices and policies within many different types of organizations located in
different cultures. Many contributors describe how some workplaces have become more
responsive to the family needs of and demands on their employees, while also
emphasizing the difŽ culties and problems that lie ahead. In the introduction to Part 3 it
1130 The International Journal of Human Resource Management
is recognized that ‘deeply held assumptions about the appropriate roles of men and
women and about the structure of work life must be challenged if real progress . . . is
to occur’ (p. 163). The general philosophy expressed in this volume is that cultural
change may be hard, but is not impossible. Consequently, many of the chapters offer a
range of general principles for effecting successful change. For example Lewis, in

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