Even in the 1980s, the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) was considered decisive for the modernisation of working structures. In this context, the term “flexibilisation of work” was introduced as a central category to describe these processes. This term was used especially to discuss the temporal and spatial independence of workplace, employer, and firmly established working patterns. Various working models emerged which were partly put into practice with the objective of safeguarding employment. In the 1990s, the introduction of technology-based options for the communication and transmission of text, charts, images, sound and computer data gave fresh impetus to this discussion. Visions of new working concepts emerged which held out the prospect of a far-reaching abolition of working structures with fixed workplaces and working hours. The decentralisation of employees’ activities in particular was supposed to lead to the development of increasingly mobile forms of work putting an end to the strict separation of work and private life. These visions were expected to offer promising prospects in particular for women with regard to the problem of compatibility of career and family roles.
Whether and how these expectations have been realised are the central issues of the above-mentioned project which is financed by the promotion programme “Frauenforschung” (Women’s research) of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs.
In the theoretical preparation of the project the modernisation of working structures is discussed as a development leading to the interconnection of working life and life environment. Therefore, the central theoretical hypotheses of the examination consistently link everyday activities with occupational structures and examine to what extent new forms of work enhance the options of individual life planning or whether they, instead, restrict them. Here, it becomes obvious that this question is of particular relevance for women. The theoretical hypotheses are based on 20 open interviews, carried out in the area of Stuttgart, and will be evaluated in the next working steps.