Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Work-Family Conflict and Enrichment: The Role of Support and Satisfaction

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Work-Family Conflict and Enrichment: The Role of Support and Satisfaction

Article excerpt

The last two decades have been characterized by economic and social changes across the world, with striking changes in the world of work and the composition of families. The move towards global competition has increased pressure on organizations and employees to be more flexible and responsive to change. In developed countries, there has been an increase in the number of employees working long hours (Kodz et al., 2002), which is often attributed to increased workload, job insecurity, and long hours culture resulting in stress and related illness. These changes have introduced new challenges for families (Davidson & Burke, 2004) as both male and female employees have substantial household responsibilities in addition to their work responsibilities (Bond, Galinsky & Swanberg, 1998). In the contemporary world, dual earner couples are no more considered the exception but, are the norm in most countries.

Research in the past two decades has sought to understand in which ways do work and family roles impact each other. Both roles can have a meaningful impact on psychological well-being and satisfaction (Kossek & Ozeki, 1998), as both roles are important components in people's life demanding time and energy. Two competing theories have been proposed to explain the interface between work and family; the scarcity and the expansion theory. The scarcity hypothesis posits that individuals have limited time and energy and adding additional roles and responsibilities inevitably creates tension between competing demands resulting in a sense of overload and inter-role conflict. One consequence of trying to juggle work and family tasks, obligations and responsibility is the experience of work family conflict. Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) defined work-family conflict as "a form of friction, in which role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respects" (pg.77). Research suggests that people will spend more time engaged in roles that are most important to them therefore, leaving less time for other roles, which increases the opportunity for the person to experience role conflict (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). Role theory is one of the most popular theoretical frameworks used by researchers to explain work family conflict. It predicts that multiple life roles result in inter-role conflict as individuals experience difficulty performing each role successfully because of incompatible role pressures from work and family (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964). The direction of the conflict between work and family is inherently bidirectional (Gutek, Searle & Klepa, 1991). It means that work may conflict with family domain and family may conflict with work domain. Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) completed a comprehensive review about the work-family conflict research. In the review they described three different types of work-family conflict: time based conflict, strain based conflict, and behavior based conflict.

Research on the consequences of work-family conflict suggests that high levels of such conflict are related to dysfunctional outcomes for individuals and organizations. At the individual level, high work family conflict levels are related to lower level of job satisfaction, life, marital and family satisfaction and increased distress (Allen, Hurst, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000; Boles, Johnston & Hair, 1997; Higgins, Duxbury & Irving, 1992; Kinnunen & Mauno, 1998; Kossek & Ozeki, 1998). At the organizational level, high levels of work-family conflict is found to be related to absenteeism (Hepburn & Barling, 1996), intentions to leave work (Aryee, 1992), low organizational commitment and job performance (Allen, Herst, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000), and burnout (Bacharach, Bamberger, & Conley, 1991).

In recent years, researchers have called for a more balanced approach to the work-family literature. Recognizing the preoccupation with negative outcomes, (e. …

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