working mothers, maternity and paternity leaves, studies, research and development, men


Working fathers are underrepresented-conceptually and empirically-in work-family research. Using a global corporate sample of working fathers from 48 countries (N = 7,692), this study compares working fathers to working mothers on key work-family variables as suggested by Voydanoff's (2002) application of ecological systems theory. It examines the direction and the path of the predictors of work-family fit and whether a scarcity or expansion model better explains these results. Finally, it considers what work-family adaptive strategies may affect those relationships. Although fathers consistently reported less family-to-work conflict than mothers, they reported equal amounts of work-to-family conflict. That is, fathers struggled as much as mothers to keep work from draining their energies at home. Similarly, though fathers were less likely than mothers to have used most corporate programs to help find harmony between work and family life, they frequently chose options that provided flexibility in when and where work was done. Overall use of any work-family programs by fathers, including the specific use of flexi-time and flexi-place, were found to be work-family adaptive strategies that predicted greater work-family fit. Having a spouse as the primary caregiver did not predict greater work-family fit for working fathers, but it did for working mothers. Curiously, having greater responsibility for childcare predicted greater work-family fit for fathers but less work-family fit for mothers. These findings have implications for guiding further development of work-family research and programs that include fathers.

Original Publication Citation

Hill, E. J., Hawkins, A. J., Martinson, V., & Ferris, M. (2003). Studying “Working Fathers”: Comparing fathers’ and mothers’ work-family conflict, fit, and adaptive strategies in a global high-tech company. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 1, 239-261. doi: 10.3149/fth.0103.239

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research and Practice




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor