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Examining the relationship of Work – Life Balance

The turnover of employees can create a serious problem for the development and prosperity of organizations. To control this situation organizations are adopting the emerging concept of work – life balance to satisfy and retain their valued employees. Work life balance considers attitude of employees towards their work and life affairs, so, good work life balance is the need of the current era [9]. Providing work life balance facility, allows employers to appear employee friendly. Currently the studies of job satisfaction and work - life balance go hand in hand. An Australian study revealed that, the thing that effected life, more than the working hours was job satisfaction and age. [9].

Work life balance are the employee feelings that they are freely able to use flexible work hours program to balance their work and other commitments like, family, hobbies, art, travelling, studies and so forth, instead of only focusing on work [14]. This shows that provision of good work - life balance leads to the activities that lead to satisfaction of employees and make them a good contributor in the organizational performance. Good work life balance is defined as a situation in which workers feel that they are capable of balancing their work and non - work commitments [20].

Improving the quality of work life balance facilities not only helps in improving the productivity but also helps in increasing employee loyalty and job satisfaction. According to Osterman, organizations introduce family friendly policies to respond to the practical problems associated with the recruitment and retention of the employees [21]. Healthy practices of work life balance leads to descending trends in job dissatisfaction and turnover.

The current study examines the relationship of work – life balance, job satisfaction and turnover intentions of MBBS qualified doctors working in hospitals in few major cities of Pakistan.

2. Literature Review

Organizations are striving for better performance to compete with their competitors. For this reason they are trying to retain their valued employees and are considering the issues relating to work and life. To take care of their employees organizations are facilitating the employee even at work to maximize the level of job satisfaction and to reduce turnover rate.

Job satisfaction can better be understood as the degree to which people like their jobs [27]. By looking at the definition of work – life balance Blunsdon, et al., stated that work-life balance means that an individual can manage both work and other aspects of their life, such as the domestic or family sphere, without a conflict or without the opposition of one domain to the other [4]. Turnover intention is defined as an employees decision to leave an organization voluntarily [6].

Job satisfaction and turnover intentions are the reflection of the viewpoint that employees have about their organizations in which they work. Employees generally show high levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover intentions, when their working environment helps them to satisfy their needs.

The researchers found that the work conditions were the most influential on the job satisfaction and turnover intentions of employees. The work conditions included were the non – monetary characteristics of their work mainly including good social relationships with their colleagues ad supervisors, promotion opportunities, professional development opportunities, and participatory management strategies [3, 10, 17, 33].

Intrusion of work into private life for doctors has substantially influenced the work related attitudes. Work life balance has important consequences for employee attitudes towards their organizations as well as for the lives of employees. The belief that organization cares about employee well being has a positive impact both for employee and the employers, that are employee satisfaction, and the organizational commitment and intention to remain with the organization [26].

The work and life are two separate domains in the management of the highly skilled workers for instance technical professionals, whose commitment may be a challenge to employer [7, 25]. Employer strategies of `respect’, as a part of family-friendly policies, have already been shown to have positive outcomes for the job satisfaction of technical workers [12], as well as for organizational commitment, turnover and absenteeism [8, 25]. On the other hand, negative spillover from work to non - work life, that is emotional exhaustion, has been shown to adversely affect organizations in the form of low commitment and high turnover [32].

Researchers also revealed that when work interfered with family life, it reduced the satisfaction from job and from life as a whole [1]. Workers with positive subjective experience of family and marital life were less likely to suffer mental health problems as a result of work-related stress, from a social policy perspective [19].

There is significant evidence that those working in construction industry were at risk of poor health and well-being due to long working hours, job insecurity, poor work–life balance, low professional worth and temporary teams [24], which result in low job satisfaction.

Guthrie revealed that skill – based pay plans, as a source of work – life balance facilities and job satisfaction, was a source of improving employee retention, where as group incentive plans, as a source of work – life balance facilities and job satisfaction, were found to be the source of employee turnover [15].

3. Methodology

Sample:

Sample constituted of 204 MBBS qualified doctors working in different public and private sector hospitals in the different cities of Pakistan. Total 500 questionnaires were distributed out of which 204 complete responses were achieved. The response rate of survey was 40.8%. A convenient sampling method was used to collect the responses.

Data collection/measures:

Questionnaires are widely used within work - related health and well-being literature [28], and are useful for measuring attitudes of individuals. So the adopted questionnaires, having proper validity and reliability, were used to gather responses form doctors to assess the relationship of the dependent and independent variables. The details of the instruments used for data collection is as under.

Work- Life Balance:

Work life balance was assessed on a scale having five items developed by Hill et al., [16]. Items were assessed on a five point Likert scale, 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree. The coefficient alpha calculated for the scale was α = 0.78, indicating high reliability.

Job satisfaction:

Job satisfaction was measured on a scale of global job satisfaction by Warr et al., [29]. The five point likert scale ranged from 1 = strongly dissatisfied to 5 = strongly satisfied, 3 = neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. It included the job characteristics like working conditions, rate of pay, relationship with colleagues including subordinates, and seniors, working hours, promotion opportunities and job security etc. Little changes were made to the original scale for this study. The global job satisfaction scale [29] has previously been demonstrated to have a high degree of reliability [11]. The coefficient alpha for this scale was α = 0.87, indicating high reliability.

Employee turnover intentions:

Employee turnover intentions were assessed on a scale earlier used by Sang et al., [24], having two items asking doctors about the intention to leave their current job. The coefficient alpha for turnover intentions was α = 0.73, indicating the reliability of the scale. Items were rated along a five point Likert type scale ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree and 3 = neither agree, nor disagree.

Procedure:

The data was collected by the help of the adopted questionnaire as mentioned earlier. Questionnaires were distributed and collected personally by visiting different departments of the hospitals. It took almost two months to finalize the data collection and processing. All the data was put into and processed through SPSS. The statistical tests used were independent sample t – test, Pearson’s correlation and regression analysis to test the relationship of the variables. t – test was applied to examine the gender differences with respect to work life balance, job satisfaction and turnover intentions of the doctors. All the responses were averaged using compute command in SPSS.

4. Results

First by looking at the demographic profile of he respondents we revealed that 71.6% respondents were male and 28.4% were female, 30.9 % respondents were unmarried while 69.1 % were married. More than half (69.1%) of the respondents worked full time .in some hospital. More than half of the respondents (51.4 %) were having tenure between 1 to 5 years which show that most of the doctors were young and might joined the jobs recently. The data collected for the study was found to be normally distributed and the tests applied were parametric in nature. Table – 1 shows the demographic details.

Table – 1.

Demographic profile of the respondents.

Demographic variables Category No. of respondents % age.

Gender Male 146 71.6

Female 58 28.4

Marital status Single 63 30.9

Married 141 69.1

Type of work Full time 141 69.1

Part time 63 30.9

Tenure (years) 1 to 5 101 49.5

6 to 10 95 46.5

10 and above. 08 03.9

Pearson’s correlation is used to check the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. The results of the Pearson’s correlation show that work life balance has a positive relationship with job satisfaction and negative relationship with turnover intentions. Job satisfaction also has strong negative relationship with turnover intentions. Table – 2 show the details.

Table – 2

Pearson’s Correlation Matrix

WLB JS TOI

Work life balance 1 0.790** -0.666**

Job satisfaction 1 -0.788**

Turnover intentions 1

** Significant at 0.01%.

The results of multiple regression analysis confirmed the relationship between the dependent variable (turnover intentions) and the independent variables (work life balance and job satisfaction). The results show that work - life balance (-0.134, P = 0.100) has significant weak negative relationship with turnover intentions. Job satisfaction (-0.775, p = 0.000) has strong significant negative relationship with turnover intentions of doctors. The R2 of the regression model is 0.625 and F - statistic is 167.760 the regression model is significant at 0.05 level of significance, which confirm the fitness of the model tested. The value of R = 0.791 shows that there is a strong relationship between the dependent and the independent variables. The R2 shows that the independent variables such as work life balance and job satisfaction account for 62.5% variation in the dependent variable that is turnover intentions. See Table No 3.

Table No 3

Regression Model

Regression coefficient, st. error in parenthesis, t- values in brackets and p - values in

italics

Constant

WLB

JS

R2

F - Statistic

5.477

-0.134

-0.775

0.625

167.760

(0.210)

(0.081)

(0.078)

[26.115]

[-1.651]

[-9.882]

0.000

0.100

0.000

0.000

*Dependent variable: Employee turnover intentions (TOI).

*Independent variables: Work – life balance (WLB), Job satisfaction (JS).

To look at the differences among male and female doctors the test used was the independent sample t- test. The p - value for employee turnover intentions (p = 0.329) at 5% level of significance shows that both male and female doctors have no significant difference in employee turnover intentions. The variables which show that both male and female have significant difference are work life balance (p = 0.001) and job satisfaction (p = 0.001). Female doctors are better able to manage their work and non work responsibilities as compared to men and are more satisfied with their jobs compared to male doctors. See results in Table No 3.

Table No 3

Independent sample t - test

Variables

Mean

St. dev.

t-value

p-value

Turnover Intentions

Male

Female

3.131

3.160

0.8160

0.7820

-0.179

0.329

Work life balance

Male

Female

2.859

3.235

0.5803

0.4901

-0.776

0.001

Job Satisfaction

Male

Female

3.326

3.738

0.7504

0.6913

-3.231

0.001

5. Discussion and Conclusion

The key findings of the study show that work life balance has a strong positive relationship with job satisfaction and negative relationship with turnover intentions of the doctors. Moreover, job satisfaction of the doctors has negative relationship with turnover intentions. The results reveals that the doctors who are better able to balance their work and life activities and are more satisfied with their jobs are less intended to leave their jobs. The results are consistent with the findings of Dora and Marks.

Dora and Marks revealed that the organizations which take care of their employees result in the well being of the employees which in-turn results in the satisfaction, commitment and retention of the employees with that organization [26]. It shows that when there is a better balance between ones work activities and life activities there are more chances that one feels comfortable at work which results in satisfaction at work. We can also say that the balance in work and life activities give rise to job satisfaction. Higher work life balance in the organizations result in higher job satisfaction.

Another study of 1187 employees in New Zealand revealed that employees who engenders feelings that employers are providing them with the facility to better manage their work and life, were more satisfied with their work and were having low work pressures that resulted in low turnover intentions [13].

Both male and female doctors show no significant difference in having turnover intentions which means that if they get better job opportunity, even in the presence of work life balance and job satisfaction, they will prefer to leave the current organization. The possible reason for this result may be that both the male and the female doctors have the same profession and may experience same type of work environment which results in having same intentions about their jobs.

The study also reveals that female doctors are better able to balance their work and non work responsibilities and are more satisfied with their jobs as compared to their counterparts. The finding is not consistent with the findings of Sang at al.,[24]. Their research revealed that females were less satisfied compared to their male counterparts. The possible reason for this finding may be that for female Pakistani doctors the medical profession is considered to be one of the honorable profession.

6. Research Implications

The research findings conclude that there are no significant differences among male and female doctors in leaving the current job if they are provided with the better opportunity. The organizations which want to retain their valued employees are suggested to think more over the issues relating to work life balance and satisfaction of employees. The negative relationship of work life balance, job satisfaction and turnover intentions provides a guideline for the organizations that the more organizations provide better facilities to maintain the balance between the work and the non work activities the more employees will tend to remain with the same organization. Similarly the satisfied employees are the assets of any organization and they will remain with the organization. The retention of employees with the same organization saves the organization from incurring costs on hiring and training their employees.

7. Limitations

The limitations of the study may relate to the generalization of the findings. Large sample size may produce different results. Secondly, if the data is gathered from more cities of the country that may results in effective outcomes. Data acquisition remained inconsistent with the planned activity which was made possible by using personal contacts.

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