Academic journal article Family Relations

The Effects of Community Demands, Resources, and Strategies on the Nature and Consequences of the Work-Family Interface: An Agenda for Future Research

Academic journal article Family Relations

The Effects of Community Demands, Resources, and Strategies on the Nature and Consequences of the Work-Family Interface: An Agenda for Future Research

Article excerpt


This article presents a broad conceptual framework that suggests ways in which community demands, resources, and strategies influence relationships between work demands, resources, and family well-being. Withindomain and boundary-spanning community demands and resources are proposed to combine with work demands and resources in relation to work-family conflict and facilitation. Boundary-spanning community strategies are expected to mediate and moderate relationships between work-family conflict and facilitation and family well-being. The paper closes with an agenda for future research and a strategy for policy and practice.

Key Words: community demands, community resources, community strategies, family well-being, work-family conflict, work-family facilitation.

It has become evident over the past few decades that work and family are interrelated domains. Based on this realization, scholars from several disciplines began investigating the nature and extent of linkages between the two domains (Eby, Casper, Lockwood, Bordeaux, & Brinley, 2005; Geurts & Demerouti, 2003; Perry-Jenkins, Repetti, & Crouter, 2000). Until recently, this research has focused exclusively on interrelationships among the work and family domains. However, scholars and practitioners have begun to recognize that workplaces and families are embedded in the communities in which they are located. Understanding how communities may both help and hinder the efforts of work organizations, families, and individuals to enhance work-family integration provides a necessary foundation for designing work, community, and family policies and programs that increase families' abilities to meet the needs of their members.

Most definitions of community, which focus on territory or social relationships, are too broad to be useful for viewing community as a context for workfamily role coordination. It is more useful to consider community as a combination of interrelated components. Two of these are community structure and community social organization. Community structure encompasses the physical infrastructure of territorial communities, social and demographic composition, and institutional resources. Community social organization refers to the ability of a community, usually a neighborhood, to realize the common values of its residents and to maintain effective social controls (Mancini, Martin, & Bowen, 2003; Sampson, 1999). In addition, the opportunities and constraints associated with community structure and social organization are interpreted and acted upon by community members. Members develop perceptions of their communities (e.g., the quality of their structure and social organization and sense of community) and participate in communities in various ways such as volunteering, giving and receiving informal help, and using community services (Furstenberg & Hughes, 1997; Voydanoff, 2001).

This article proposes and elaborates a conceptual framework for examining how community characteristics influence relationships between work demands, work resources, and family well-being. A model of how community characteristics are expected to influence work-family relationships is presented. Drawing upon a demands-and-resources approach, how community characteristics influence the effects of work demands and resources on family well-being is proposed. The article closes with the development of a research agenda and a discussion of implications for policy and practice.

The Work-Family Interface

Figure 1 presents the model upon which the analysis of the effects of community characteristics on workfamily relationships is based. It draws upon the ecological systems approach (Bronfenbrenner, 1989; Moen, Elder, & Luscher, 1995), which proposes that domains such as work and family are microsystems consisting of patterns of activities, roles, and interpersonal relations experienced in a network of face-to-face relationships. …

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