Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Work-Family Conflict and Work Engagement among Mothers: Conscientiousness and Neuroticism as Moderators

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Work-Family Conflict and Work Engagement among Mothers: Conscientiousness and Neuroticism as Moderators

Article excerpt

Introduction

Hie study is aimed at gaining a greater understanding of factors that influence work engagement among working mothers. The introduction provides a broad overview of the focus of the study.

Problem statement

Key focus of the study

The challenge of balancing the demands associated with work and family life has become increasingly prevalent among women, and especially, among working mothers (Franks, Schurink & Fourie, 2006). In recent decades, women's participation in the workforce has grown considerably (Barker, 2003) and South Africa is no exception to this global phenomenon (Patel, Govender, Paruk & Ramgoon, 2006). In addition to their newly acquired work role, women are however still expected to perform their traditional roles, namely those of mother and wife (Biernat & Wortman, 1991). Women are largely responsible for childcare and domestic duties associated with such roles (Biernat & Wortman, 1991; Lewis-Enright, Crafford & Crous, 2009; MacDonald, 2004). Simultaneously performing the role of an employee, parent, and spouse may result in stress and conflict (Eagle, Icenogle,Maes & Miles, 1998; Theunissen, van Vuuren & Visser, 2003). In fact, pressure to meet these demands makes work-family conflict almost unavoidable (Mauno, Kinnunen & Ruokolainen, 2006).

Background

The phenomenon of work-family conflict has received considerable research attention (Koekemoer & Mostert, 2010; McLellan & Uys, 2009; Mostert, 2008; Theunissen et al., 2003; Wallis & Price, 2003) owing to the significant impact it may have on the health and well-being of individuals as well as on organisational outcomes (Bellavia & Frone, 2005; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Hassan, Dollard & Winefield, 2010; Mitchelson, 2009; Poelmans, O'Driscoll & Beham, 2005; Rotondo, Carlson & Kincaid, 2003). This study focused on the impact of work-family conflict on a work-related well-being outcome, namely work engagement.

Some studies have found that the experience of work-family conflict is impacted by personality (Bruck & Allen, 2003; Herbst, Coetzee & Visser, 2007; McLellan & Uys, 2009; Noor, 2002; Thomson & De Bruin, 2007). Two personality traits that have been consistently linked to work-family conflict are conscientiousness and neuroticism (Andreassi, 2011; Bruck & Allen, 2003; Wayne, Musisca & Fleeson, 2004). Apart from its relationships with work-family conflict, research has also shown that personality influences work engagement as work engagement correlates positively with conscientiousness and negatively with neuroticism (Jeong, Hyun & Swanger, 2009; Langelaan, Bakker, Van Doornen & Schaufeli, 2006).

In order to determine whether work-family conflict is a predictor of work engagement and to assess the impact of personality factors on these variables, the job demands-resources (JD-R) model (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner & Schaufeli, 2001) was utilised. In their study on work and organisation-based resources as moderators of work-family conflict, well-being, and job attitudes Mauno et al. (2006) utilised the JD-R model. More specifically, work-family conflict was conceptualised as a job demand in an expansion of the JD-R model of Demerouti et al. (2001) (Bakker, Van Veldhoven & Xanthopoulou, 2010; Mauno et ai, 2006). Similarly, in the current study, work-family conflict was conceptualised as a demand and its impact on work engagement was investigated. In addition, personality was conceptualised as a personal resource and was expected to buffer the relationship between work-family conflict and work engagement.

Research objectives

The study set out to answer the following research question: Does personality (neuroticism and conscientiousness specifically) moderate the relationship between work-family conflict and work engagement?

The research aims were thus to:

* determine whether significant relationships exist among the research constructs (that is, work-family conflict, work engagement, neuroticism and conscientiousness)

* determine whether conscientiousness acts as a moderator in the relationship between work-family conflict and work engagement

* determine whether neuroticism acts as a moderator in the relationship between work-family conflict and work engagement

Contribution to the field

By answering the above questions, the study contributes to theory through its use of the JD-R model. …

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