Men's Work–life Conflict: Career, Care and Self-realization: Patterns of Privileges and Dilemmas


*Sigtona Halrynjo, Work Research Institute, PB 6954 St Olavs Plass, 0130 Oslo, Norway, e-mail:


This article aims at contributing to a better understanding of men's work–life reconciliation by developing a typology of work and care adaptations drawing on a sample of 102 European men, aged 21–64, working in different work organizations. The article combines qualitative and quantitative data. Multiple correspondence analysis is used to investigate the men's actual adaptations to work, care and self-realization. ‘Volume of work’ and ‘volume of care’ constitutes separate dimensions that render visible the traditional gendered opposition between a high amount of care combined with low amount of work and vice versa. However, two more untraditional adaptations (low–low and high–high) are identified. Additional analyses show that, even within this all male sample, the distribution of working life privileges corresponds with a high amount of paid work and a low amount of care responsibilities. The structure of the gendered division of labour, status and material privileges is correspondingly rediscovered. A typology of four different positions is derived: the ‘career' position', the care’ position the ‘care and career’ position and the ‘patchwork career’ position. These positions are further investigated utilizing in-depth interviews, discussing dilemmas and advantages of dilemmas and the advantages of each position. The article concludes that even if the number of available work–life adaptations open to men rise, this change will not necessarily contribute to alter the hierarchical distribution of career and care, privileges and costs in society.