An In-Depth, Longitudinal, Qualitative Study Exploring the Decision- Making Processes of Dual-Earner Couples in Incidents of Work-Family Conflict

  • Laura Suzanne Radcliffe

Student thesis: Phd


The University of Manchester Laura Suzanne RadcliffeThesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)An In-Depth, Longitudinal, Qualitative Study Exploring the Decision-Making Processes of Dual-Earner Couples in Incidents of Work-Family Conflict This study employs qualitative diaries and in-depth interviews with dual-earner couples in order to investigate how the demands of work and family responsibilities are negotiated on a daily basis. The methods used are novel in that in-depth interviews were conducted initially with both members of the couple present, and subsequently with each individual separately. Diaries were also completed by each individual privately, as a means of eliciting their experiences of decision-making in a real-time basis. It is argued that the use of such in-depth qualitative analysis enabled new and important findings to emerge, including distinguishing between different types of decision-making, uncovering important new decision-making cues, and gaining a greater insight into those cues previously acknowledged. The findings also demonstrate how these cues have an impact on decision-making in the context of both parties in the couple. In using both couples and individuals as levels of analysis it is possible to identify how this interdependence is manifested whilst also allowing for the discovery of important strategies used by the couples on a daily basis to resolve work-family conflicts. Balancing work and family is shown to be a continuous work in progress and the methodology used here allowed the daily dynamics of that work in progress to be revealed.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCatherine Cassell (Supervisor) & Gail Hebson (Supervisor)


  • decision making
  • qualitative diaries
  • dual-earner couples
  • work-family conflict

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