‘Not a Problem Until it Becomes a Problem’: A Qualitative Study of Values and Risks of In-house Family Ties in Swedish Workplaces

  • Katarina Haugen Umeå University
  • Kerstin Westin Umeå University
Keywords: Health, working environment & wellbeing, Learning & compentencies, Work/life balance, Identity, meaning & culture, Organization & management

Abstract

In-house family ties at workplaces occur in most contexts, and are associated with both advantages and disadvantages. On the basis of 40 interviews with human resource managers at Swedish workplaces, the values and risks of in-house family ties and their importance within the workplace are analyzed jointly, thus allowing for a holistic perspective. The interviews reveal values and risks on a strategic level, for day-to-day operations, for the social work environment, and on the level of individuals. Crucially, even when in-house family ties are perceived as uncomplicated, there is a latent risk that problems might arise. The interpretation of the role of in-house family ties is also strongly related to whether they are paired with asymmetrical (vertical) power relations. It also depends heavily on the chosen perspective—that of the organization, the social work environment, the individual, or the broader society—and the perceived advantages tend to come with corresponding inverted disadvantages.

Author Biographies

Katarina Haugen, Umeå University
PhD, Senior Lecturer. email: katarina.haugen@umu.se
Kerstin Westin, Umeå University
PhD, Professor
Published
2016-12-31
How to Cite
Haugen, K., & Westin, K. (2016). ‘Not a Problem Until it Becomes a Problem’: A Qualitative Study of Values and Risks of In-house Family Ties in Swedish Workplaces. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 6(4), 67-86. https://doi.org/10.19154/njwls.v6i4.5613
Section
Articles