The Bad News and the Good News: The Long-term Consequences of Having Used an Alternative Work Schedule

Margaret Padgett, Butler University
Lynn Harland
Steve B. Moser

This is the author's pre-print version of the article. The final, definitive version is available at


Research suggests that women who adopt alternative work arrangements may be viewed less favorably than women who work a regular schedule. This study examined whether those negative perceptions persist even after the woman returns to a regular schedule. One hundred twenty-five employed MBA students participated in an experimental study in which work schedule was manipulated. Participants reviewed a personnel file for a female employee who was either on a regular schedule or who had previously been on a reduced-workload schedule. They then completed a questionnaire assessing their perceptions of the target employee. Contrary to the authors' expectations, results revealed that the female employee who had previously been on an reduced workload schedule was actually viewed as having significantly greater advancement motivation and advancement capability than a female employee who had always used a regular schedule. She was also somewhat more likely to be recommended for a promotion.