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Work-Life Advantage. Sustaining Regional Learning and Innovation. RGS-IBG Book Series

  • ID: 4399632
  • Book
  • December 2017
  • 248 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd

′Who thought the topic of work–life balance could be so interesting? Al James makes it riveting. His sometimes–poignant, sometimes heart–rending, sometimes outrageous (how can they get away with that?) stories of the collision of work–lives and every–day lives of high–tech workers in Dublin and Cambridge make for utterly compelling reading. James′ ability to bring together seamlessly gender, work, corporate life, and the geography of the everyday is a great achievement. It exemplifies yet again the power of economic geography in understanding crucial issues of our present moment.′
Trevor Barnes, Professor of Geography, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada

′The changing nature of employment, the growing diversity of the workforce and the implications for individuals and households are the questions of our time. In this fascinating book, feminist and regional economics meet head–on as James provides insights into the implications of the growth of ′′knowledge work" for firms and for families in Cambridge and Dublin.′
Linda McDowell, Research Professor of Geography, University of Oxford and Honorary Professor of Geography, University of Exeter, UK

Work–Life Advantage explores the labour geographies of regional learning and innovation in the Knowledge Economy. Its original analysis documents the everyday struggles of high tech professionals to combine competing activities of work, home and family. Crucially, it demonstrates how employer–provision of ′family friendly′ working arrangements cannot only yield improvements in the lives of knowledge workers and their families, but also enhance firms′ capacities for learning and innovation, and long–term competitive advantage. The book is based on 10 years of research carried out with over 300 IT professionals and 150 IT firms in the UK and Ireland.

The analysis developed in this book challenges problematic, masculinist assumptions of the ′ideal worker′ and stubborn workplace exclusions of workers with significant home and family commitments. It also exposes the masculinist myopia of the regional learning and innovation agenda and attendant theories of regional advantage. Bringing together major debates in labour geography, feminist geography and regional learning, this is an essential addition to academic and policy research on work–life integration and socially inclusive growth.

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List of Figures viii

List of Tables ix

Series Editor’s Preface xi

Preface and Acknowledgements xii

List of Abbreviations xv

1 Inclusive Regional Learning? 1

2 Recentering Regional Learning: Beyond Masculinist Geographies of Regional Advantage 16

3 Work]Life Balance and its Uncertain ‘Business Case’ 38

4 Researching Labour Geographies of Work–Life and Learning in Ireland and the UK 67

5 Juggling Work, Home and Family in the Knowledge Economy 86

6 Overcoming Work–Life Conflict and the Gendered Limits to Learning and Innovation? 117

7 Work–Life Balance, Cross–Firm Worker Mobility and Gendered Knowledge Spillovers 145

8 Conclusions: Gendered Regional Learning and Work–Life Advantage 176

References 197

Index 226

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Al James
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