Are they ideological renegades? Fathers' experiences on taking parental leave and gender dynamics in Korea: A qualitative study

Seo Young Byun, Sook Yeon Won

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite their fear of repercussions on career advancement and gender identity, Korean fathers taking parental leave have continually increased. Why do Korean fathers take parental leave in spite of the risk of being stigmatized as less masculine and less ideal workers? Are they willing to be ‘ideological renegades' to be new involved fathers? In-depth interviews with fathers who took parental leave provide interesting answers. Overall, taking parental leave does not make fathers become ideological renegades since it is mainly utilized in a manner that accommodates the work devotion schema, deviating from the formal policy objectives. This deviant utilization is encouraged and even valued by organizations. This may be part of a psychological contract between organizations and employees, ensuring that employees are dedicated to their career even during parental leave. Furthermore, beyond the legal eligibility of uptake, informal but powerful ‘organizational eligibility' such as high performance or their contribution to the organization, makes not only the likelihood but also the aftermath of taking up different across fathers. As a result, a hierarchy among fathers with class connotations emerges. This hierarchy among fathers, combined with the traditional gender hierarchy, may reinforce the masculine fabric of ideal workers as the norm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-614
Number of pages23
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Korean fathers
  • ideological renegades
  • parental leave
  • qualitative
  • work devotion ideology

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