Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1012387
 
 

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Work-Life Balance, Management Practices and Productivity


Nicholas Bloom


Stanford University - Department of Economics; London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Tobias Kretschmer


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München - Faculty of Business Administration (Munich School of Management); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

John Van Reenen


London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Stanford Graduate School of Business; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

April 2006


Abstract:     
Many critics of free-market liberalism argue that higher product-market competition and the "Anglo-Saxon" management practices it stimulates increases productivity only at the expense of employees' work-life balance (WLB). The empirical basis of these claims is unclear. To address this issue we use an innovative survey tool to collect the first international data on management practices and work-life balance practices, surveying 732 medium sized manufacturing firms in the US, France, Germany and the UK. We find that WLB outcomes are significantly associated with better management, so that well run firms are both more productive and better for their employees. After controlling for management practices, however, we find no additional relationship between WLB and productivity. WLB practices are also not reduced by tougher competition, suggesting no deleterious effect of competition on employees' working environment. Finally, looking at multinationals we find that US subsidiaries in Europe adopt the superior management practices of their US parent firms but the local WLB practices of their European competitors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: work life balance, management, productivity, competition,

JEL Classification: O32, O33, L31

working papers series


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Date posted: September 6, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Nicholas and Kretschmer, Tobias and Van Reenen, John, Work-Life Balance, Management Practices and Productivity (April 2006). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1012387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1012387

Contact Information

Nicholas Bloom (Contact Author)
Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )
Landau Economics Building, Room 231
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-725-7836 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://economics.stanford.edu/faculty/bloom
London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7408 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/people/bio.asp?id=1498
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Tobias Kretschmer
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München - Faculty of Business Administration (Munich School of Management) ( email )
Kaulbachstr. 45
Munich, 80539
Germany
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
John Michael Van Reenen
London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 6976 (Phone)
+44 20 7955 6848 (Fax)
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )
7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7240 6740 (Phone)
+44 20 7240 6136 (Fax)
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
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