Tautologies of work life balance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


This conceptual contribution resembles the central theme of the 2002 SUSTAIN meeting and is about tautologies of Work Life Balance. It will be argued, that in Open-Systems Thinking the tautological character of work and non-work is obscured because the system and its environment are defined in an inclusive way (the system is part of the environment). When we observe the distinction between system and environment not as inclusive but as exclusive, as in Luhmann’s Theory of Self-Referential Systems, we are able to observe the existing tension between work and non-work demands more effectively in the sense that we are able to acknowledge that work and non-work aspects of work life are highly interrelated and only mean something with respect to each other. Based upon this concept we define Work Life Balance as the emergent meaningful order that enables and constrains members of organizations to make sense of work versus non-work demands, which results from the mutual recursive interplay throughout time between individual intentions, individual behaviors, collective intentions and collective behaviors. With this definition in mind, we may plan for more rigorous research about Work Life Balance, which will cover multiple paths of the tautology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTautologies of work life balance. Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the SUSTAIN Network. Madrid, Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain, September 13, 2002
EditorsF.M. Eijnatten, van
Place of PublicationMadrid, Spain
PublisherUniversidad Politécnica de Madrid
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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