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A study of the interactions between family trends and new work methods in the Information Society


Project logoFAMILIES was a study funded under Key Action II (New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce) of the European Union's Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme. The overall aim of FAMILIES was to contribute to the success of Key Action II by providing state-of-the-art data and analysis on the interactions between new IST-based work methods and the needs and circumstances of families. The project began in September 2000 and was completed in April 2002.

Key Issues and Policy Relevance

The emergence of an Information Society is accelerating the development and deployment of new work methods, including flexible, mobile and remote working. Apart from the implications for business, employing organisations and workers as individuals, these changes have potentially profound implications for families. Likewise, the attitudes of families to the new work methods can facilitate or constrain the rate of diffusion of these innovations.

Some of the questions that FAMILIES addressed included:

  • What types of family structure and circumstances are conducive to or inhibit the adoption of new IST-based work methods?
  • What are the positive impacts, but also the potentially negative impacts on different family types of different variants of the new work methods?
  • What types of supports would help families to better exploit the new opportunities?
  • What are the implications for labour market participation rates?
  • How will family adoption of new work methods influence the adoption of other IST-based systems and services, and vice versa?
  • How can RTD and policy be focused to support an optimal balance between economic and social cost-benefits in this area?


FAMILIES studied the implications of new IST-based work methods for families and, conversely, of families for the new work methods, in order to support European RTD and policy. Four main lines of work were carried out in the project.

  • Analysis of the key interactions between families and new IST-based work methods: current family forms/issues and key trends, the variety of new work methods and their diffusion trends, and how these different types of family and work method interact.
  • Study of these interactions as they arise for real families in Europe: survey of the actual experiences of more than 100 families in 4 countries - Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Italy.
  • Identification of the policy and RTD implications of family adoption of new work methods: further RTD and policy initiatives to ensure that the economic and social potential of the new IST-based work methods is fully harnessed.
  • Dissemination of the results inside and outside the IST programme: packaging the results in suitable formats and dissemination of these to the key targets inside and outside the programme.

Further information can be found at the FAMILIES web site



Name: Marie Therese Fanning
Organisation:   The Work Research Centre
Address: 1 Greenlea Drive, Terenure, Dublin 6W, Ireland
Telephone: +353-1-492-7042
Facsimile: +353-1-492-7046

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