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Life in Balance

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Scales

Can you have it all? Is it possible to be successful in your professional life while also leading a satisfying personal life? Men are programmed to succeed at all costs, often at the expense of family and their own happiness. Women today are expected to become “super moms,” having successful careers while remaining the primary caregiver for their family. Is any of this possible?

Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation of West Conshohocken , Pennsylvania , the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc. implemented two complimentary research projects in an attempt to find out how both employees and business executives feel about balance between their personal and professional lives.

The Lincoln Institute convened a Public Opinion Court Focus Group on Saturday, January 29, 2005 at the historic King of Prussia Inn in King of Prussia , Pennsylvania . Hosted by Al Paschall and the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce, the focus group session was moderated by Charles L. Kennedy, senior instructor of Political Science at Penn State‘s York Campus. Philip J. Kennedy, CPA, a business instructor at Penn State ’s Shenango Campus addressed the focus group on the subject of business ethics. The Public Opinion Court focus group was comprised of 14 individuals from southeastern Pennsylvania balanced by age, gender income, political affiliation, and religious background.

The Public Opinion Court Focus Group session contributed to the overall project in two ways: First, it provided a forum for discussing the Life in Balance question by a representative group of employees and employers from various walks of life. Second, it allowed the research team to refine the questions which were subsequently asked in the statewide poll. Focus groups allow for an in-depth probing of the issue under discussion, to more fully understand the reasons behind answers given to questions posed.

Upon completion of the Public Opinion Court focus group session, the Lincoln Institute made final revisions to a list of questions that would be posed to business leaders from throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania . In early March, 2005 a total of 10,000 questionnaires were mailed to business owners, chief executive officers, or top management utilizing a list obtained from Dunn & Bradstreet. Additionally, the survey questionnaire was circulated electronically to members of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Independent Businesses (NFIB). A total of 723 responses were received by mail, and 174 through the electronic questionnaire to build a total sample of 897 respondents.

Results of both the focus group and the statewide poll reveal that balancing work/career with family/personal life remains a top priority for most people. It further finds that accomplishing a Life in Balance is a difficult task, but that it is still possible in this nation to be a success on all fronts, to in effect achieve the American Dream.

 

Lowman S. Henry
The Lincoln Institute
Harrisburg, PA

May 2005

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