Chasing the Unicorn: A Phenomenological Study of Work/life Balance of Female Administrators

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the work/life balance of female school administrators by investigating potential barriers they face as well as support systems that are utilized when aiming to balance all sectors of their lives. Nippert-Eng’s (1996) Boundary Theory provides the theoretical framework for this study. Nippert-Eng believes that individuals maintain balance by constructing and deconstructing boundaries and that demands from work and home can be integrated or segmented depending on the individual. Later studies by Kriener, Hollensbe, and Sheep (2009) added four categories of tactics utilized by individuals between home and work: behavioral, temporal, physical, and communicate in order to achieve a sense of balance. Data was obtained through two rounds of semi-structured interviews and a photo elicitation technique. Significant statements were derived from the interviews, coded, and then organized into thematic clusters. Seven thematic clusters about female administrators and work life balance emerged from this study. The primary findings of this study indicate that female administrators need to work very hard to achieve a sense of balance due to the number of directions they are pulled in on a daily basis in both work and home realms of their life

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