This article integrates research on gendered organizations and the work-family interface to investigate an innovative workplace initiative, the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), implemented in the corporate headquarters of Best Buy, Inc. While flexible work policies common in other organizations "accommodate" individuals, this initiative attempts a broader and deeper critique of the organizational culture. We address two research questions: How does this initiative attempt to change the masculinized ideal worker norm? And what do women's and men's responses reveal about the persistent ways that gender structures work and family life? Data demonstrate the ideal worker norm is pervasive and powerful, even as employees begin critically examining expectations regarding work time that have historically privileged men. Employees' responses to ROWE are also gendered. Women (especially mothers) are more enthusiastic, while men are more cautious. Ambivalence about and resistance to change is expressed in different ways depending on gender and occupational status.
Many employing organizations have adopted work-family policies, programs, and benefits. Yet managers in employing organizations simply do not know what organizational initiatives actually reduce work-family conflict and how these changes are likely to impact employees and the organization. We examine scholarship that addresses two broad questions: first, do work-family initiatives reduce employees' work-family conflict and/or improve work-family enrichment? Second, does reduced work-family conflict improve employees' work outcomes and, especially, business outcomes at the organizational level? We review over 150 peer-reviewed studies from a number of disciplines in order to summarize this rich literature and identify promising avenues for research and conceptualization. We propose a research agenda based on four primary conclusions: the need for more multi-level research, the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach, the benefits of longitudinal studies that employ quasi-experimental or experimental designs and the challenges of translating research into practice in effective ways.