Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Work-Leisure Relations: Leisure Orientation and the Meaning of Work

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Work-Leisure Relations: Leisure Orientation and the Meaning of Work

Article excerpt


Considerable research has focused on work-non-work relations in general, and on work-leisure relations in particular. Three basic models have been suggested in the literature: spillover, compensation, and segmentation. The spillover model states that the nature of one's work experiences will carry over into the non-work domain and affect attitudes and behaviors there (Wilensky, 1960). According to the compensation model, workers who experience a sense of deprivation at work will compensate in their choice of non-work activities (Wilensky, 1960). In contrast to these two models, Dubin's (1958, 1973) segmentation model claims that no relation exists between one's work and one's non-work domains; the two are lived out independently. In reviewing the empirical literature, Champoux (1981) concluded that the evidence does not allow any conclusion as to which of the models is most valid. In a more recent study by Tait, Padgett, and Baldwin (1989), the results suggest that the spillover model may be the most accurate means of characterizing the relationship between work and non-work satisfaction. However, a number of studies have found support for either the compensation model or the segmentation model (Rain, Lane, & Steiner, 1991). On the other band, Kelly and Kelly (1994) found neither a complementary nor a compensatory relationship between work and either family or leisure.

The inconsistency of findings caused several authors to give up searching for general regularity in work-non-work relations, and to seek regular relations only in various subgroups of people (Champoux, 1978; Kabanoff, 1980; Shaffer, 1987).

Elizur (1991) claimed that the varying aspects of the work and non-work domains may be characterized by different patterns of relationship. Using the facet analysis approach, he distinguished and defined two basic facets, namely behavior modality (instrumental, affective, and cognitive) and social environment (work and home). He found a clear distinction between work and home regions. Further analysis revealed a compensation type of relationship between work and home in the instrumental and cognitive items, and segmentation in the affective items. The results thus contradicted the conventional approaches that consider work and non-work to be unitary concepts and attempt to establish which of the three models (spillover, compensation, or segmentation) best characterizes their relationships.

Other alternatives to the conventional approaches have focused on the direction of influence in work-non-work relations. Kohn (1990) suggested that the flow of influence might not be all one-way, and that family and leisure might have some influence on work orientation. Kirchmeyer (1992) described how family and other non-work domains can affect attitudes and behaviors at work. She argued that by active participation in non-work domains, such as family, recreation, and community, workers can increase the number of privileges enjoyed beyond work-related ones, buffer the strains of work, gain contacts and information valuable to work, and develop useful skills and perspectives for work. Cohen (1997a) found that non-work domain variables were significantly related to withdrawal cognitions. He also found that non-work domain variables affected organizational commitment (Cohen, 1997b). Overall, in reviewing the empirical literature, Watkins and Subich (1995) note the increasing accord that work is inextricably intertwined with other aspects of life.

From previous studies it may be assumed that no overall pattern exists in work-non-work relations (Champoux, 1981; Elizur, 1991). These relations, as well as the direction of influence in them, can vary among different subgroups of people and as a function of the different aspects of the two domains. The present study focuses on the relationship between work and leisure, as one of the major aspects of non-work. Since little empirical research has been conducted on the association between leisure orientation and the meaning of work, we aim to examine this phenomenon and to scrutinize it over time. …

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