Flexible working, work–family conflict, and maternal gatekeeping: The daily experiences of dual-earner couples

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This study explores the impact of flexible working on the daily experiences of work–family conflict for dual-earner couples with child dependants. In exploring these daily experiences, the occurrence of maternal gatekeeping behaviours, and the relationship between flexible working and such behaviours is investigated. We draw on episodic and longitudinal data from qualitative diaries kept for a 1-month period by both members of 24 couples (48 participants) as well as from introductory and subsequent in-depth qualitative interviews with the couples, both together and apart. We report an evidence suggesting that work–family conflicts are experienced and resolved differently, depending on whether it is the male or the female who works flexibly within dual-earner couples. This link between flexible working and gender is demonstrated to have an important impact on maternal gatekeeping behaviours, which are highlighted as playing a crucial role in such daily experiences and how they are resolved


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-855
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date31 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Work-family conflict, Flexible working, Gender, Dual-earner couples, Maternal gatekeeping, Qualitative, Diaries