Although management research on work-life flexibility policies has occurred for over 40 years, it is underdeveloped with inconsistent results. We argue that this is due to theorizing that—but not measuring whether—policy use increases boundary control; a fragmented literature examining a range of policies (either individually or bundled) without comprehensive integration; and an under-examination of policy implementation effectiveness. Drawing on boundary theory, we inductively review 338 studies to organize the work–life flexibility policy literature around a boundary control and implementation framework. Our framework derives a taxonomy of types of boundary control, identifies implementation stages, considers the importance of policy bundling, and incorporates multi-level (individual, group, organizational, societal) and multi-domain (family, work) dynamics. Our review shows that the current literature often assesses the availability of single policies and individual outcomes; but under-assesses boundary control, extent of use, bundling, implementation, and multi-level outcomes. Our results provide a springboard for future research and practice by offering new insights for understanding work–life flexibility policies, encouraging scholars to: (1) recognize the crucial role of different types of employee boundary control (spatial, size, temporal, permeability, continuity) as an inherent element of policy experiences that must be measured rather than merely assumed; (2) examine how work–life flexibility policy implementation involves four implementation stages—availability, access experiences (including enablers and barriers), use, and outcomes—with multiple stakeholders (e.g., individual employees, supervisors, coworkers, family) and contextual factors (i.e., societal forces); and (3) innovate ways to examine emergent policy issues such as equality, home implementation, and hybrid forms.
flexibility, flexible work arrangements, micro topics, quality of work life, work family conflict/management, work life conflict/management
Date of this Version
Kossek, E. E., Perrigino, M. B., & Lautsch, B. A. (2023). Work-Life Flexibility Policies From a Boundary Control and Implementation Perspective: A Review and Research Framework. Journal of Management, 49(6), 2062–2108. https://doi.org/10.1177/01492063221140354