Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre O'Donovan


This thesis focuses on the shift from work-life balance to work-life integration. The term ‘work-life balance’ was first introduced in Ireland in the mid-1980s, outlining the significance of balance between employees’ work and personal life activities. Studies on work-life balance most often show that work and life are perceived as mutually exclusive domains that are constantly competing for an individual’s time or energy. Work-life balance practices improve employee motivation and enhance their job performance and commitment. For employers, these policies are essential to maintaining an edge over competitors, and necessary to retain highly qualified staff Flexible working is seen as one of the most important facets of maintaining a good work-life balance; however, this has led to the integration of work and personal life. Work-life integration refers to when professionals blend what they do both personally and professionally, and suggests that work and life are incorporated into one fulfilling purpose.

The primary aim of this research is to explore the extent of the shift from work-life balance to work-life integration, and also investigate the effects of this shifting trend. The study focuses on a cross section of different demographics, genders, occupations and personal circumstances. Based on the findings of the literature review, and the philosophy underlying this study, the choice of research strategy for this dissertation was the quantitative method. A questionnaire was used to provide quantitative data in this research, and a pilot study was conducted prior to distributing the questionnaire to the full research sample.

The findings of this study show that there has been a shift to a more integrated work-life, but also that there are negative consequences associated with this shift, such as stress, burnout and workaholism. It is notable that while this changing trend seems to be impacting negatively on some employees, this is ultimately a change that the employee wants. Employees are aware of the danger of blurring the lines between work and life, but are willing to accept this in order to choose a routine that best suits their needs. A solid foundation of trust between the employee and the employer is crucial in facilitating and implementing any practices or policies around work-life fusion and integration. An employee who is willing to demonstrate their flexibility to the company should be rewarded with the same flexibility in return.

Access Level