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Abstract

The effective management of the work-life interface is an issue increasingly recognised as of strategic importance to organisations and of significance to employees (Forsyth & Polzer-Dedruyne, 2007; Nord et al., 2002; Russell & Bowman, 2000). A pan-European investigation (Brannen et al., 2002) concluded that young Irish people characterize the two domains of work and family as operating in conflict with each other. Given the high rate of workforce participation in the Irish labour market, and the corporate imperative of effective retention strategies (Messersmith, 2007; Cappelli, 2000), understanding how this perspective may influence behavioural intentions with respect to managing the work-family interface will be a valuable insight for organizations. Although gender and social background have long been identified as having a significant impact on the development of a number of work-related attitudes (Barling & Kelloway, 1999), neither dimension has been investigated with respect to their impact on attitudes towards managing the work-family interface. This study aims to establish the relationship between a number of demographic factors and such attitudes. Identifying behavioural intentions among students now ready to enter the labour market, will facilitate the development of more appropriate and robust organizational policies and procedures in relation to managing the work-family interface. Attitudes towards managing the work-family interface were measured using the Career Family Attitudes Measure (Sanders et al., 1998). The results of this study confirm that gender continues to have a strong role in the development of attitudes towards managing the work-family interface. The results also suggest that a number of social background factors, in particular school experience, parental education and parental occupation are strong factors in the development of these attitudes.

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