“Women Like You Keep Women Like Me Down”: Understanding Intergenerational Conflict and Work-Life Balance from a Discourse Perspective

  • Renee Guarriello HeathEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


In a fairly recent phenomenon, four generations of women are now present in the workplace (Martin CA, Tulgan B, Managing the generation mix: from urgency to opportunity, 2nd edn. HRD Press, Amherst, 2006; Zemke R, Raines C, Filipczak B, Generations at work: managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers, and Nexters in your workplace. American Management Association, New York, 2000). While the research attending to issues of work and life, conflict and balance, is burgeoning, scant attention has been paid to intergenerational work-life conflict. This chapter explores some of the underlying tensions and differences that lie at the nexus of intergenerational conflict in the work-life context seeking to disrupt staid stereotypes and offer pathways in which women across generations may find commonality and bridge differences. A review of the literature and contemporary research trends suggest intergenerational conflict in the work-life context illuminates gendered and structured imbalances in the workplace. In light of this, the chapter challenges present conceptions of what counts as a work ethic and predicts generational responses to gendered structures will challenge assumptions about how women will work in the future.


Work-life balance Work-life conflict Intergenerational Gendered workplace Discourse Generational cohort theory Life-course theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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