1Stephen J. Wood | 2Lilian M. de Menezes
Research on family-friendly practices has concentrated on the predictors of their use, particularly from the perspective of either institutional theory or the high involvement or commitment management vogue. This paper first shows how these two perspectives can be used to generate hypotheses about the link between family-friendly management and organizational performance. Second, the paper reports research designed to test these, using data from a national representative sample of workplaces across the British economy, the Workplace Employment Relations Survey of 2004 (WERS2004). The results support the high commitment thesis that family-friendly management will strengthen the relationship between commitment and key economic outcomes, as the relationships between family-friendly management and productivity or quality are stronger in organizations where the workforce is highly committed, which is consistent with social exchange theory. Family-friendly management is not, however, related to the human resource outcomes of labour turnover and absenteeism. Nor does the study find support for the argument that its use in conjunction with high involvement management enhances the performance effects of both, nor the hypothesis from the institutional thesis that family-friendly management has positive effects on the legitimacy of the organization.
Keywords: family-friendly management; work–family practices; social legitimacy; organizational performance; institutional theory; high commitment management; high involvement management; organizational commitment; social exchange theory; social legitimacy.