Impact of Flexible Work Hours on Organizational Commitment and Job Satisfaction in Small Business Organizations

By Siegel, Philip H.; Mosca, Joseph et al. | Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, March 1997 | Go to article overview

Impact of Flexible Work Hours on Organizational Commitment and Job Satisfaction in Small Business Organizations


Siegel, Philip H., Mosca, Joseph, Karim, Khondkar, Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship


ABSTRACT

Behavioral contract theory (Rousseau, 1995) suggests that employees with family responsibilities may negotiate new behavioral contracts that include family-responsive benefits such as flexible work hours. Relationships of gender, family responsibility, and flexible work hours to organizational commitment and job satisfaction were examined among 160 matched male and female managers in a cross-organizational study. Results revealed that women who perceived their organizations offered flexible work hours reported higher levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction than women who did not. Also, flexible work hours were related to higher organizational commitment and job satisfaction for those having family responsibilities. Implications of these results for future research and organizational policy are discussed.

INTRODUCTION

Organizational responses to work-family conflict are becoming of increasing importance for small and other businesses (Ornstein & Isabella, 1993). In recent years, larger organizations have introduced a number of family-responsive policies and benefits, in large part, due to the increasing number of boui spouses in the workplace (Milliken, Dutton, & Beyer, 1991; Rousseau, 1995; Schwartz, 1989). Lee (1991) found tiiat 52% of women with children under age 6 worked in 1991 as compared witii 11% in 1960. The increase in dual-career families has also given rise to more favorable attitudes of small business firms toward "family-friendly" policies, since both partners must now be flexible to meet child-care or dependent-elderly care demands (Lee, 1991). Scharlach and Boyd (1989) reported tiiat a sizable percentage of workers were providing assistance to elderly family members. The study found tiiat respondents consider formal organizational supportive programs to be extremely helpful in managing care giving and work responsibility conflicts. Provision of such programs may affect work attitudes of employees, including organizational commitment and job satisfaction. These policies may be related to employee loyalty to the organization since the organization may be perceived to be a "family friendly" work environment.

Business decision makers have been motivated to implement flexible work hours to improve motivation and morale as well as to enable employees to better balance work and family (Kush & Stroh, 1994). Small business leaders must pay particular attention to work family sensitive programs to motivate employees toward commitment and to compete for skilled workers. Thomas (1996), indicated that a labor crunch is becoming observable at small retailing, construction, aerospace, and health-care firms. Companies with less than 55 employees are beginning to lose workers to larger firms. United Chemical Technologies, for example, a 55-person chemicals manufacturer in Bristol, PA, has lost more than a dozen employees in two years to larger companies (Thomas, 1996).

This need for flexibility may relate to improved productivity. Osterman (1995) found strong support for the link between the implementation of work family policies and direct efforts on the part of employers to improve employee commitment. American businesses of all sizes may have to supply more family-related benefits in the future. Although some companies argue that it is not their responsibdity to deal with their workers' family problems, a number of employers, especially medium to small ones, have accepted such responsibility of establishing a family-friendly environment. These firms have found that the least expensive way to help their employees is to allow for flexible work schedules (Cordtz, 1990). The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. The second section presents the literature relevant to the context of the present study including the research hypotheses to be tested. Research methodology and data collection are the focus of the third section. The fourth section presents the empirical findings and interpretations of the study. …

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