Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Lea A. Hubbard, PhD; George E. Reed, PhD; Robert Donmoyer, PhD


families & family life, gender, home life satisfaction, Leadership studies, mixed-methods research design, opposite-sex partnerships, partner supportiveness, quantitative, same-sex partnerships, women, working mothers, work-family conflict, work satisfaction


The demographics of the American workforce and family structures have shifted dramatically over the past 60 years, but traditional work and domestic roles have evolved only slightly. Women are more impacted than men by fixed interpretations of gender roles due to their assumption of professional positions in the workplace without relief from domestic responsibilities. For many women who are engaged in the professional realm while raising a family, the result is often a work-family conflict. Despite significant research and some governmental policy and organizational policy changes, limited progress has been made in resolving the conflict. Some dimensions of work-family conflict have been well-researched, but an area that has been less studied is how women negotiate work-family conflict within their relationships with a partner. Moreover, there is limited information on how this conflict is negotiated in same-sex partnerships compared with opposite-sex partnerships. This study used a mixed-methods research design including a web-based survey and in-depth interviews to examine the following questions: What, if any, differences exist in levels of work satisfaction and home life satisfaction among women in same-sex partnerships and women in opposite-sex partnerships? What contributes to the differences in work and home life satisfaction among women in same-sex partnerships and women in opposite-sex partnerships, and among the identified differences, what elements of an operational model for work-family conflict negotiation can be highlighted that might lead to more satisfaction for women? Findings suggest that there are some important differences between same-sex and opposite sex partnerships. Quantitative analysis of the data suggests that working mothers in same-sex partnerships feel more supported by their partner than women in opposite-sex partnerships. Feelings of partner supportiveness are a positive indicator of home life satisfaction, and home life satisfaction is positively correlated with work satisfaction. Other important themes also emerged from the qualitative data as critical to the discussion of work-family conflict within relationships: the impact of socialized gender roles and biological gender issues, the complexity of work-family arrangements, the extent to which the division of responsibilities are negotiated, and the extent to which family circumstances are considered in career decisions.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies