Twenty Years of Work and Family at International Business Machines Corporation


work/life balance, organizations, IBM, workplace flexibility


Twenty years ago, corporate work and family programs at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) were seen as a means to accommodate the needs of working mothers. Today, IBM's work/life strategy is seen as a business imperative to attract, motivate, and retain key talent needed to drive success in the marketplace. To intelligently develop work/life strategies that would simultaneously meet business and personal needs, IBM conducted seven work and life issues surveys, beginning in 1986. These surveys provide a wealth of data on which dramatic change has been based. Many initiatives have been implemented related to dependent care, flexibility in when and wherework is done, and management support of employees'work/life needs. This article briefly shares IBM'swork/life experience during the past 20 years. Key results from each work/life survey are enumerated along with the substantive policies that they engendered to make IBM a global corporate work/life leader.

Original Publication Citation

Hill, E. J., Jackson, A. D., & Martinengo, G. (2006). Twenty years of work and family at International Business Machines Corporation. American Behavioral Scientist, 49, 1165-1183. doi: 10.1177/0002764206286384

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



American Behavioral Scientist




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor