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Work–life balance: A review of the meaning of the balance construct

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 February 2015

Thomas Kalliath
School of Management, Marketing and International Business, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, Australia
Paula Brough
School of Psyehology, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt QLD, Australia


Although the term work–family/life balance is widely employed, an agreed definition of this term has proved elusive. Instead, an array of definitions and measures populate the literature. The variety of work–life definitions and measures provide limited value for both the theoretical advancement of the construct and for practical human resource (HR) interventions. In this article, we review six conceptualisations of work–life balance found in the literature: (1) multiple roles; (2) equity across multiple roles; (3) satisfaction between multiple roles; (4) fulfilment of role salience between multiple roles; (5) a relationship between conflict and facilitation; and (6) perceived control between multiple roles. Based on our review of this research we identify the two primary features of the work–life balance definitions and propose a new definition of this construct.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 2008

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