Research Paper on Family Responsive Benefits

Activity Description:

Author: Catherine White Berheide, Skidmore College


This paper examines how employers respond to their employees’ family concerns. This paper explores the variety of “family-responsive benefits” which employers provide (or fail to provide) to address the challenges of combining work and family.


For this paper, each student will choose five employers to study. The student needs to identify what family-responsive benefits each employer offers to its employees. To find out what benefits an employer offers, the student can go to the company’s web site, interview someone in the human resources department (as Galinsky and Deitch and Huffman both did), or interview an employee. All three approaches would be the optimum way to obtain the best data.


Begin the paper by drawing on the course readings to frame the issue of how employing organizations are responding to the contemporary conflict between work and family. Next, discuss what the data in the course readings tell us about family-responsive benefits. Then, raise the question of whether the patterns they identify are still true today. Be sure to define key concepts and to indicate how the data on the five employers were collected. Indicate whether the data from the five companies follow the patterns described in the readings. If they do not, what makes these companies different from the ones in the readings? What factors influence the choices employers make about what family-responsive benefits to offer? End the paper by drawing a conclusion about what these data indicate about the likelihood that organizations will offer more or fewer family-responsive benefits in the future.

The paper should be five pages long (typed and double-spaced with normal margins and type font). Attach a copy of your data on each employing organization. Include a reference page listing any of the course readings referred to in the paper. Footnote (using the internal citation format) any direct quotations or paraphrasing. Be sure you cite the exact reading to which you are referring and not the editors of the book from which the reading comes.

Activity Source:

Adapted by Jane Case from Berheide, C.W. (2006). “Work, Family, and Organizations” Syllabus.