Smartphone Paradoxes in Working Mothers’ Pursuit of Work-Life Balance

  • Karen SowonEmail author
  • Olga Sikhwari
  • Mphatso Nyemba-Mudenda
  • Wallace Chigona
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 933)


Technology has led to the intertwining of work and life, with persistent debates as to whether they facilitate better Work-Life Balance (WLB) practices or not. It is argued that while smartphones may provide capabilities that foster WLB, they may also contribute to negative outcomes that challenge the very pursuit and intention of WLB. The research adopts an interpretive, qualitative approach, using the paradoxes of technology to understand what conflicts the use of smartphones present to working mothers in their pursuit of WLB. A total of 15 participants were selected, through convenience sampling, to study a variety of experiences and views regarding smartphones, as experienced by working mothers. The sample differed in terms of age, marital status, type of employment, industry and income level. We used semi-structured interviews to collect data. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. The results indicate that though smartphones provide capabilities that potentially support WLB, their very use results in paradoxical experiences for mothers that challenge their very quest of WLB.


Work-life balance Working mothers Technology paradox 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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