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Whose occupational balance is it anyway? The challenge of neoliberalism and work-life imbalance

Clouston, Teena Jayne ORCID: 2014. Whose occupational balance is it anyway? The challenge of neoliberalism and work-life imbalance. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 77 (10) , pp. 507-515. 10.4276/030802214X14122630932430

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Introduction: Occupational therapists/scientists maintain that achieving occupational balance through participation in ‘doing’ and ‘being’ occupations enhances personal and social wellbeing. However, the influence of paid work on occupational balance is not well researched. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of workplace cultures on the lived experience of occupational balance for occupational therapists. Method: Two representative workplaces were accessed: one health and one social services setting, both in Wales. Twenty-nine occupational therapists took part, 18 from healthcare and 11 from social services. The study was qualitative in design, using in-depth interviews and interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings: The study identified a potent link between neoliberal capitalism and occupational imbalance for occupational therapists as a consequence of the pressures of paid work on the rest of life, the social hegemony of paid work, and a sense of individual responsibility for both performance in paid work and success or failure in personal occupational balance. Conclusion: Occupational therapists can live unbalanced lives as a consequence of the pressures of the neoliberal workplace on ‘doing’ and ‘being’ activities outside of paid work. Individuals can experience a sense of personal responsibility about success or failure in work–life balance that can affect their achievement of wellbeing through occupational balance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists
ISSN: 0308-0226
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 01:48

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