Volume 63, Issue 1 p. 96-129
Original Article

Gender Egalitarianism and Work–Life Balance for Managers: Multisource Perspectives in 36 Countries

Karen S. Lyness

Corresponding Author

Karen S. Lyness

Baruch College & Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA

Address for correspondence: Karen S. Lyness, Department of Psychology, Baruch College, City University of New York, 55 Lexington Avenue, Box B 8-215, New York 10010-5585, USA. Email: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Michael K. Judiesch

Michael K. Judiesch

Manhattan College, USA

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First published: 11 June 2013
Citations: 96
The authors thank the Center For Creative Leadership for providing the multisource data used in this research. We also thank the Editors of the Special Issue and Kristen M. Shockley for their helpful comments on earlier versions; Cristina Arroyo Rodriguez and Christine R. Smith for their help as Research Assistants; and Phillip Braddy, John Fleenor, and Michael Campbell from the Center For Creative Leadership for their support and help with the data files. Portions of this study were presented at the International Conference on Work–Life: Cross-National Conversations and Context Theorizing in Work–Life Research, that took place in May 2011 in Paris, France; and at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology that took place in May 2009 in New Orleans, LA, USA.


Work–life balance has important implications for both personal well-being and work-related outcomes. This study investigated gender differences in multisource ratings of work–life balance, based on self-reports and supervisors' appraisals of 40,921 managers in 36 countries. Based on a combination of theoretical ideas from social role theory (Eagly & Wood, 2012), prior work–life literature, and gender egalitarianism as a cultural dimension related to societal gender roles, the study tested gender egalitarianism as a moderator of cross-national variations in these gender differences. Based on multilevel (HLM) analyses, results showed more cross-national variation by ratee gender in supervisors' appraisals than self-reports, suggesting that supervisors' perceptions reflected greater influence of societal gender stereotypes. Supervisors rated women lower in work–life balance than men in low egalitarian countries, but similar to men in high egalitarian countries, and only appraisals of women varied depending on egalitarian context. Country gender egalitarian values explained the majority of variation in supervisors' appraisals of women's work–life balance, whereas women's self-reported balance was linked to objective gender inequalities. Taken together, the findings show that supervisors' perceptions of employees' work–life balance differed by ratee gender and country context, with important implications for work–life theory and practical implications for global employers.