Work-Family Conflict: A Model of Linkages between Work and Family Domain Variables and Turnover Intentions

By Boyar, Scott L.; Maertz, Carl P., Jr. et al. | Journal of Managerial Issues, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Work-Family Conflict: A Model of Linkages between Work and Family Domain Variables and Turnover Intentions


Boyar, Scott L., Maertz, Carl P., Jr., Pearson, Allison W., Keough, Shawn, Journal of Managerial Issues


Researchers have studied many outcome variables of work-family conflict (WFC) and family-work conflict (FWC), such as depression (Frone et al., 1992a), family satisfaction (Beutell and Wittig-Berman, 1999), heavy alcohol use (Frone et al., 1996), and job satisfaction (Netemeyer et al., 1996). However, relatively few have specifically examined withdrawal. While intention to quit (Burke, 1988; Netemeyer et al., 1996) and absenteeism (Goff et al., 1990) have been linked to WFC, there is some question about the generalizability of current findings. For instance, Burke (1988) used a global measure of work-family conflict and Netemeyer et al. (1996) only considered correlations. The purpose of this study is to address these issues by testing a model of work and family variables leading to conflict and, ultimately, turnover intentions.

Gaps in the Research

Work-family conflict is a form of interrole conflict that occurs when pressures associated with membership in one role interferes with membership in another (Kahn et al., 1964). It is defined as "a form of interrole conflict in which the role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respect" (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985: 77). Research in the area of work-family conflict, while informative, still has shortcomings that have yet to be addressed. In order to advance this stream of research, more consistency in the literature is needed. Comparisons between studies are still limited because some researchers continue to use a global measure of work-family conflict rather than two separate variables. The following section details important gaps in the literature that will be addressed in the current study.

First, researchers have shown that WFC and FWC are distinct constructs with discriminant validity (e.g., Gutek et al., 1991; Kossek and Ozeki, 1998; Netemeyer et al., 1996). While some researchers have adopted the use of two independent measures to capture work interfering with family conflict (WFC) and family interfering with work conflict (FWC) (e.g., Carlson et al., 2000; Frone et al., 1992a; Frone et al., 1996; Gutek et al., 1991; Netemeyer et al., 1996), recently published research continues to use a global measure of work-family conflict (e.g., Carlson and Perrewe, 1999; Greenhaus et al., 1997; Parasuraman and Simmers, 2001; Yang et al., 2000). By measuring WFC and FWC separately, we have the opportunity to see how work domain variables influence WFC and how family domain variables influence FWC (Frone et al., 1996; Gutek et al., 1991; Kossek and Ozeki, 1998).

Second, few studies examine full measurement models. Work-family conflict studies using structural equation modeling often consider a structural model and use summated scales (see Carlson and Kacmar, 2000). These methods only estimate error; they do not model all of the theorized relationships (i.e., observed and latent). By creating an average of the latent construct, they are creating a single manifest indicator. Using a full measurement model and structural model is more rigorous and accounts for measurement error above and beyond a structural model and is the recommended approach (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988). Further, simultaneously assessing the measurement and structural models provides a more thorough assessment of construct validity (Bentler, 1978). It also allows for the opportunity to use the preferred two-step modeling approach (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988). By first confirming the measurement model in evaluating a priori relationships, theory can be tested and confirmed in the second step (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988). We estimate and fix the measurement and test the structural model in the interest of using this two-step approach.

Third, a large number of studies have followed the suggestions of researchers (i.e., Frone et al., 1992a; Kopelman et al., 1983) to consider only a subgroup (e.g., those married or having children) of the population of workers (Greenhaus et al. …

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