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Embracing the whole individual: Advantages of a dual-centric perspective of work and life


  • Bourne, Kristina A.
  • Wilson, Fiona
  • Lester, Scott W.
  • Kickul, Jill


In today's often complicated and fast-paced world, individuals are pulled in many different directions. Balancing work and personal roles--including those of parent, spouse, caregiver, volunteer, and so forth--can be a daunting task. In the literature, identity theory speaks to the multi-faceted existence employees face, beyond that of just "worker." The differing roles individuals occupy have traditionally been viewed as competing, implicitly suggesting that attention to one area of a person's life necessarily detracts from the others, and that juggling and managing multiple roles causes stress and emotional strain. To explore the verity of this notion we conducted a study, which is described herein. Of significance, 55% of our sample indicated that they were dual-centric; that is, individuals who value both their work and non-work roles equally. In this article, we build on extant research and find support for the belief that dual-centrics experience more overall satisfaction, greater work-life balance, and less emotional exhaustion. Given the seeming increase in employees' dual-centric focus, it is rational to suggest that one way in which organizations can improve and enhance employee well-being is by embracing them as whole individuals. This article explores that notion, and provides innovative examples from Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list regarding how this objective can be accomplished.

Suggested Citation

  • Bourne, Kristina A. & Wilson, Fiona & Lester, Scott W. & Kickul, Jill, 2009. "Embracing the whole individual: Advantages of a dual-centric perspective of work and life," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 387-398, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:52:y:2009:i:4:p:387-398

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daniel H. Simon & Jed DeVaro, 2006. "Do the best companies to work for provide better customer satisfaction?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(8), pages 667-683.
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    Cited by:

    1. Consolación Adame-Sánchez & Eva-María Caplliure & María-José Miquel-Romero, 2018. "Paving the way for coopetition: drivers for work–life balance policy implementation," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 519-533, March.
    2. Haeger, Donna L. & Lingham, Tony, 2014. "A trend toward Work–Life Fusion: A multi-generational shift in technology use at work," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 316-325.

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