Sarah Thébaud (California) Talk Feb. 7

Assisant Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara


“Opting into Work-Family Policies: Comparing the Effects of Material and Cultural Concerns”


Existing scholarship suggests that changes in workplaces, such as the implementation of supportive work-family policies, may lead to greater gender equality at work and at home. In practice, however, the utilization of work-family policies is highly variable across organizations and is highly gendered, with women being more likely to use such policies. In this talk, I will present findings from two an original survey experiments. The first study evaluates the underlying mechanisms driving gender variation in work-family policy use. Specifically, it aims to: 1) disentangle the effects of the material aspects of a policy (e.g., the wage replacement rate for family leave) from the cultural aspects of a policy (e.g., the informal organizational norms regarding policy use) in shaping workers’ policy use intentions, and 2) identify the extent to which individuals’ concerns about finances or violating “ideal worker” and gender norms matter. The second study sheds light on the cultural determinants of gender differences in policy use by identifying the extent to which men and women face differing expectations for behavior at home. Specifically, this study tests whether women are held to a different standard of household work, and how assumptions of responsibility for such work differ by gender and parental status. Findings contribute new insights to scholarship on gender inequality, organizational behavior, and social policy.


The Martha Foschi Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching will be presented at 11:00 am.


Reception to follow in the Lino Lounge (12:30-1:00 pm)


All are welcome!