Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Managing Time-Based Conflict across Life Domains in Nigeria: A Decision Making Perspective

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Managing Time-Based Conflict across Life Domains in Nigeria: A Decision Making Perspective

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to obtain insights into the process by which employees in a developing country attempt to resolve time-based conflict between work, family and other activities. A decision making framework is used to study the way Nigerian managers handled conflicting pressures from their various life domains. Participants were asked to write a diary, in a free-response format, of a whole Friday and a Saturday morning. Substantial diary excerpts are provided to enable readers to make their own judgment on the validity of the author's constructivist interpretation. This empirical study permitted a detailed mapping of the day-to-day decision making process people engage in while facing conflicting demands from work, family and an Executive MBA, with the various factors that intervene in a complex interplay. Practical implications are drawn: 1) Managers need to develop time management, interpersonal and problem solving skills, to clarify their values and strengthen their capacity to resist external pressures; and 2) Organizations need to improve their working practices so that their employees may more readily find ways of resolving their work-family conflict. This paper adds to the work-family literature by including the environmental and cultural context in which work and family interact and by closely examining value-based conflict with its impact on a person's decision-making and subjective experience of conflict.

KEYWORDS: Work-family Conflict, EMBA, Nigeria, Values, Decision Making

Introduction

Work-family conflict has been studied for decades in the Western world. Not so in developing countries. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with an estimated population of 147.98 million (World Bank, 2008) and workforce of 50.13 million people (CIA, 2008) representing a coveted market for many global organizations in spite of its relatively high risk rating. Yet the impact of employment practices on employees' personal and family life remains mostly unknown.

When Warhurst, Eikhof and Haunschild (2008) invoke the ready availability of part-time work to deny the existence and debilitating impact of a pervasive long working hours culture, and when Maclnnes (2008) dismisses the work-family issue on the grounds of very low fertility rate, changing gender roles and increased statefunded services, they are adopting a purely Western perspective, the relevance of which is difficult for anyone living in Africa to see. According to Aryee (2005), the work-family interface in urban subsanaran Africa is affected by a greater number of contextual influences than those prevailing in the Western world. There is research evidence of the strain workers may experience as they seek to reconcile conflicting demands of work, family and personal concerns (e.g. Aryee, 1993, 1992). Whether men or women, white collar employees have little time for family occupations, while the family is expected to take the first place in a person's life (Aryee, 2005).

This makes it particularly important - and it is the objective of this study - to obtain insights into the process by which employees in a developing country attempt to resolve time-based conflict between work, family and other activities. In such a context, a greater understanding of the challenges faced by employees and their families will be helpful to employers in their attempts to provide a working environment conducive to high performance while reducing the costs of absenteeism and low commitment. These insights represent a significant contribution to the literature by improving our understanding of the factors intervening in people's choices as they make trade-offs between conflicting demands of their various life domains.

Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

Much of past research on work-family conflict follows the general framework of the stress literature (Frone, Russell and Cooper 1992; Howard, 1992; Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.