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Do Labmates Matter? The Relative Importance of Workplace Climate and Work-Life Satisfaction in Women Scientists’ Job Satisfaction

Tim Archie, Marina Kogan, Sandra L. Laursen


Workplace climate and work-life balance are two factors that influence women’s decisions to leave or remain in a science workplace.  This study applies structural equation modeling to data from nearly 600 early-career geoscientists to examine relationships among perceptions of workplace climate, work-life satisfaction, job satisfaction and productivity.  The results include analytic path models comparing women to men, women professionals to women graduate students, and women professionals with child caregiving responsibilities to those without.  For all groups, workplace climate—measured in terms of both collegial interactions in the workplace and influence on decision-making—outweighed satisfaction with work-life balance in shaping job satisfaction, which in turn positively influences perceived productivity.  Work-life balance increased in importance and became significantly more influential for women caregivers.  The findings suggest that institutional efforts to improve workplace climate benefit all academics, while unmitigated work-life conflict may tip the balance for women’s satisfaction.    


women; STEM; geoscientists; workplace climate; work-life satisfaction; job satisfaction

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