Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Relationships among Stressors, Work-Family Conflict, and Emotional Exhaustion: A Study of Electronics Industry Employees in China

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Relationships among Stressors, Work-Family Conflict, and Emotional Exhaustion: A Study of Electronics Industry Employees in China

Article excerpt

In developing China the electronics industry is very important and has the largest number of employees. Grzywacz et al. (2008) argued that work-family conflict research should focus on diverse labor forces because of economic globalization; therefore, in this research we aimed to evaluate whether or not the job stress and role stress of employees in the Chinese electronics industry cause work-family conflict. Netemeyer, Boles, and McMurrian (1996) found that work-family conflict caused role conflict between the work and family domains. Peus and Traut-Mattausch (2008) found that values have a significant impact on the ability of an individual to balance work and family. What guidance can be gained for China from these conclusions? In what ways can the Chinese face job stress, role stress, work-family conflict, and emotional exhaustion, while at the same time dealing with an evolving society based on traditional values and shifting to become more open and accessible? The purpose of this research was to answer this question in the context of the development of the Chinese electronics industry.

JOB STRESS, ROLE STRESS, AND WORK-FAMILY CONFLICT

Netemeyer et al. (1996) found that there is a correlation between work-family conflict and role ambiguity. Fu and Shaffer (2001) described how the number of hours spent on household work is an important determinant of family interference with work and that role conflict, role overload, and hours spent on paid work influenced work interference with family. Elloy and Smith (2004) also found that workload has a significant effect on work-family conflict. Ku (2007) found a correlation between role ambiguity and work-family conflict in that those who experience work-family conflict face role ambiguity at the same time. Beutell and Wittig-Berman (2008) identified job stress as the most important factor influencing work-family conflict.

Research has also been carried out into social support and work-family balance, for example Grady and McCarthy (2008) argued that, for professional working mothers, the work-family balance depends on organizational support and found that the women in their study wished to attain a successful balance between work, family, and personal life. Thomas and Ganster (1995) found that if employees felt capable of managing both work and family affairs, work-family conflict was reduced. Beutell and Wittig-Berman (2008) found that different generations have unique views on issues relating to work-family conflict, so managers should consider the generation gap when designing work-family schemes. O'Shea and Kirrane (2008) found that employees who come from two-parent households more strongly pursued work-family balance than did those from single-parenting households. These researchers have all completed their research in Western countries. Our aim was to extend this to Chinese society in this study. We therefore proposed the following hypotheses:

H1: The higher the level of job stress for electronics industry employees in China, the higher will be the level of work-family conflict.

H2: The higher the level of role stress for electronics industry employees in China, the higher will be the level of work-family conflict.

JOB STRESS, ROLE STRESS, AND EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION

Karatepe and Uludag (2007) concluded that role ambiguity reinforces emotional exhaustion. McCall (2002) reported a correlation between stress and emotional exhaustion. Montgomery, Panagopolou, Wildt, Meenks, and Doorn (2006) found that there is a connection between emotional exhaustion and work focus in that disguising negative emotion will lead to negative results. Saxton, Philips, and Blakeney (1991) found that job stress influences emotional exhaustion. Lu and Lee (2007) demonstrated that "a tighter supervision style by Japanese managers positively influences role conflict and role overload", and that "centralized decision-making by Japanese managers also positively affects role ambiguity in Japanese managers, but centralized decision-making by Taiwanese managers negatively effects role ambiguity in Taiwanese managers". …

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