Decision Making for Couples

8 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by James G. Clawson

James G. Clawson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

John P. Kotter

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Victor Faux

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Charles MacArthur

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

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Abstract

Few of us make job selection decisions or career moves without considering and discussing issues with someone important in our lives. How do you and your partner make career decisions? Is it based on family location, quality of the job offer, size of salary offered, how much your children like their schools, or …. what? The manner in which you reach career decisions can usually be related to how you describe and value your social relationship in relation to your work. Learning a decision making process to manage the relationship between career and family will lead to fewer relationship dilemmas.

Excerpt

UVA-PACS-0099

DECISION MAKING FOR COUPLES

Few of us make job selection decisions or career moves without considering and discussing issues with someone important in our lives. Whether we are thinking about a move to another firm or a job position change within the same company, career decision making affects our relationships with important people in our lives. Being part of a couple complicates career making decisions, since we need to consider and essentially agree on our partner's role in our new environment. How career-related decisions are made varies according to personal relationships between couples.

The composition of the roles that individuals (who make up a couple) take has changed over the years. By 1998 dual career couples made up 60 percent of the married workforce. As more women have entered the workforce, family dynamics have changed, and more men have become willing to give up the traditional role as primary or sole breadwinner. Some men have also left the workforce to stay at home to be the primary child care provider. While there is no official census bureau tracking of “stay at home dads,” statistics revealed that 19 percent of this country's preschoolers were cared for by their fathers. The most recently available U.S. Census numbers showed that the “traditional” model of male breadwinner and female housewife represented just 23 percent of the married couple families in the workforce. This figure is up from 15 percent between 1985 and 1988. While these statistics will vary from country to country, the challenge of making career-related decisions in tandem with another person continues to be a major issue for people in the work force.

Learning a decision-making process to manage the relationship between career and family will lead to fewer relationship dilemmas. How do you and your partner make career decisions? Is it based on family location, quality of the job offer, size of salary offered, how much your children like their schools, or …. what? The manner in which you reach career decisions can usually be related to how you describe and value your social relationship in relation to your work. In the chart below, we identify five general relationships for couples. Which one is closest to your current primary relationship?

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Keywords: Decision-making, career, choices, managerial, psychology

Suggested Citation

Clawson, James G. and Yemen, Gerry and Kotter, John P. and Faux, Victor and MacArthur, Charles, Decision Making for Couples. Darden Case No. UVA-PACS-0099. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=911794

James G. Clawson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/clawson.htm

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

John P. Kotter

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Victor Faux

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Charles MacArthur

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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