The fallacy of integration: work and non-work in professional services

Simon Wilson, Michael Butler, Kim James, David Partington, Val Singh, Susan Vinnicombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many organisations are encouraging their staff to integrate work and non-work, but a qualitative study of young professionals found that many crave greater segregation rather than more integration. Most wished to build boundaries to separate the two and simplify a complex world. Where working practices render traditional boundaries of time and space ineffective, this population seems to create new idiosyncratic boundaries to segregate work from non-work. These idiosyncratic boundaries depended on age, culture and life-stage though for most of this population there was no appreciable gender difference in attitudes to segregating work and non-work. Gender differences only became noticeable for parents. A matrix defining the dimensions to these boundaries is proposed that may advance understanding of how individuals separate their work and personal lives. In turn, this may facilitate the development of policies and practices to integrate work and non-work that meet individual as well as organisational needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-195
Number of pages10
JournalWomen in Management Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • professional services
  • lifestyles
  • family life
  • gender


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