In recent years, integrating work and social life have become more salient due to a growth of dualearner couples and increasing challenges of global competition for organizations. Studies illustrate the importance of the work-life phenomenon for understanding individual wellbeing as well as organizational effectiveness and competitiveness. In the work-life literature, it is evident that the dominating conflict perspective and the competing work-life balance approach are difficult to integrate, which creates a complexity in understanding the work-life phenomenon. The result is an overwhelming amount of cross-sectional studies focusing primarily on the outcomes of work-life interactions typically based on restricted theoretical ground. As a consequence there has been limited attention to more fundamental dynamics and processes of the work-life interaction. This study tries to remedy these shortcomings by means of a qualitative design and to provide new empirical knowledge in understanding the dynamic interactions between influence and work-life. Working time constitutes the overall framework for exploring the work-life interaction in the study, as it represents an inevitable condition given that working time not only defines the temporal structure of work, but also determines the individual’s social time. The theoretical framework is based on theories concerning influence, in particular Organizational Participation (e.g. Heller, Pusic, Strauss & Wilpert, 1998) and Self-Determination Theory (e.g. Deci & Ryan, 2002). Through theoretical analyses it is shown that a participatory influence approach reveals new perspectives in understanding the complexity of the work-life phenomenon and help counteracting the undesirable split-up between the existing conflict versus balance approaches. Participants from different work time systems are interviewed in order to explore the opportunities for influence on working time in the various systems in relation to social life conditions.
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14th European Congress of Work and Organizational Psychology, 2009