The role of many employed adults

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Balancing the demands of work and family roles has become a daily task for many employed adults (Williams and Alliger, 1994). This is more to women as they are more inclined towards family responsibilities than that of men. Role conflict can be defined as “role pressures associated with membership in one organization are in conflict with pressures stemming from membership in other groups” (Kahn et al., 1964, p20). “Participation in the work (family) role is made more difficult by virtue of participation in the family (work) role” (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985, p.77). Katz & Kahn (1978) have described this concept as demands of one role make performance of the other role more difficult . Many researches in the West have been done about the role of working women both at home and in the workplace leading to a common finding that women having dual roles have work-family conflict. And the more they have responsibilities at workplace, the more is the effect both at home and at workplace. One of the causes for this is the stereotype about the women that their primary responsibility is for the family, and secondary for the workplace. Another factor is that they have this necessity of earning for the family in order to provide better living for the family. For this, they need to be more competitive, more output oriented to remain ahead in competitive work environment. In order to maintain the equilibrium between the two role demands, they have to pay both personal costs and professional costs leading to conflict and stress. The dilemma is if they want to excel well in the organization, the family suffers and if they want to mange home properly, their career suffers. Between these two, women suffer more.

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The overall wellbeing of a working woman is determined by work-family balance (Marks & MacDermid, 1996). Work-family balance has been defined as ‘the degree to which an individual is able to simultaneously balance the temporal, emotional, and behavioral demands of both paid work and family responsibilities' (Hill et al., 2001:49).

Researches have identified the main factors causing role conflict at home and workplace such as personal characteristics, amount of time devoted, family- friendly benefits at workplace (Tausig and Fenwick, 2001). The researches have also identified the sources/elements of role conflict. They are basically because of time devoted to a given role, and the strain produced by a given role (Bachrach, Bamberger, & Conley, 1991; Cooke & Rousseau, 1984; Greenhaus, 1988; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Gutek et al., 1991; Kahn & Byosiere, 1992; Kahn et al., 1964; Pleck et al., 1980; Voydanoff, 1988). According to one of the researches, time-based conflict is the amount of time devoted to the work (family) role interfering with performing family-(work-) related responsibilities. And strain based conflict is the strain created by the work (family) role interfering with performing family (work) responsibilities.

One of the research studies done on Multinational W-F Conflict issue (Dr Zeynep Aycan -Turkey, Dr Anne Bardoel - Australia, Dr Karen Korabik & Dr Donna S Lero - Canada, Dr Tripti Desai & Dr Ujvala Rajadhyaka - Indiam Dr Artiawati Mawardi - Indonesia, Dr Anit Somech & Dr Anat Drach _ Israel, Dr Steven Poelmans - Spain, Dr Ting-Pand Huang - Taiwan, Dr Roya Ayman & Dr Leslie Hammer - USA) came up with the findings that W-F conflict is culture dependent as India, Indonesia, and Taiwan being collectivist with traditional gender roles have more role conflicts because of little spouse support, few organizational and governmental policies and extended family structure leading to more expectations from a woman in different roles. In case of Israel and Turkey, the findings were like they have more supportive legislations, more options for paid help but lack support from spouses. In spain, it was found that the W-F conflict was mainly because the work hours did not match with family hours, and there was lack of institutional childcare facilities.

These conflicts led to some or other type of guilt in women as per their social context. Women of Israel, Arab, Indonesia and Taiwan felt that they were not able to fulfill gender roles as expected. The women of Australia and India wanted to do everything with equal effort and not being able to do so, left them with the feeling of lack of accomplishment in both the roles. The women of USA had the feeling that they had to put their jobs before their children. Indian women also felt that they had to compromise with their children's academic needs.

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The coping strategy of these women was also as per their social context. In Australia and Turkey it was observed that they performed lower standards at workplace whereas the Israeli women coped with this situation by delegation. In case of Canada and the USA, the women went for compartmentalization, negotiation with the family and the organization as organization policies are more women friendly there.

Previous researches have established relationship between individual and job characteristics leading to work family conflict/balance. In one of the studies done by Tausig and Fenwick (2001), it was found that family structure variables like living with spouse and children increase family responsibilities. This study also found that as people grow, they have less responsibilities towards family, hence more work satisfaction. In another study done by Hill et al., 2001; and Tausig & Fenwick, 2001), it was found that as the work demands grow, work family balance is affected thus leading to role conflict. This means jobs at higher level yield more conflict. Gutek et al., 1991 found that female managers face more conflict as compared to their male counterparts.

Social culture leads to definition of roles of women. Social culture should also lead to define roles of women at workplace as they work in the context of existing society. But that is not the case. Organizations tend to have the notion that personal matters should not interfere their professional output (Acker 1990), so they are more rigid towards it. Hence women need to compromise with their career and remain at lower level of hierarchy leading to psychological dissatisfaction regarding their professional achievements.

The conflicts are related to outcomes such as a job dissatisfaction, job burnout, and turnover (Burke, 1988; Frone et al., 1992; Greenhaus, 1988; Pleck. Staines, & Lang, 1980) as well as to outcomes related to Psychological distress (e.g., depression), and life and marital dissatisfaction (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Gutek, Searle, & Klepa, 1991; Voydanoff, 1988). WFC and FWC are directly related to job burnout, job tension, job role conflict, and job role ambiguity (Bedian et al., 1992; Front et al., 1992; Maslach & Jackson, 1981). Job satisfaction is a highly researched work attitude and is commonly defined as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experiences” (Locke, 1976,p. 1304). As mentioned above, it is aligned with various organizational and individual aspects (Judge, Parker, Colbert, Heller, and Iles, 2001).One of the researches done by Volanti and Aron (1994), came up with the finding that high levels of job satisfaction were associated with improved psychological well-being. And improved psychological well-being is a result of work family balance.

Individual variable is also one of the factors that affect job satisfaction resulting to dissatisfaction which further leads to turnover, burnout, low level of performance etc. According to Cotton and Tuttle (1986), female employees have higher turnover levels as compared to male counterparts. Their career decisions are not purely based on professional aspects but are moderated by their demographic variables like marital status, number of dependents at home, family responsibilities etc. Mano Negrin and Kirschenbaum (2002) found that women employees' turnover decision-making process is also influenced by their spouse's conditions of employment, economic conditions of the family along with other factors like discrimination, work related factors etc.

One of the studies conducted by Unwalla (1977) in India on 50 married women executives, 50 unmarried women executives and 50 housewives from banking, marketing and advertising agencies came up with the finding that 65% of women faced psychological spillover of work to the family domain. Interestingly, these all three categories of sample put more emphasis on family roles as compared to work role.

Another study again conducted in India by Hemlatha and Suryanarayan (1983), concluded that women's problems were affected by the components like age, socio-economic status, husband's nature, children's number, their age, family type and nature of work, work-timings, cooperation from husband etc.

Findings from Indian context are important as they can give basis of comparison between Eastern and Western society. Nepal being similar to Indian context with respect to family values and social constructs, we can assume that similar types of findings can be drawn. Shekharen (1985) and Ramu (1989) came up with similar findings that Indian working women had different set of problems as compared to their western counterparts. Indian society moving away from extended family to nuclear family, have dual effect. Women are now having more freedom regarding their lives but at the same time, facing constraints because of lack of support and coordination from joint family structure, especially in case of child rearing and managing illness.

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Hypotheses:

  1. Lower WFC higher job satisfaction

  2. Higher WFC lower job satisfaction

  3. Lower WFC lower job satisfaction

  4. Higher WFC higher job satisfaction

  5. No relationship between WFC and job satisfaction

Research question: Is there relationship between work-family conflict and job satisfaction?

Methodology:

Participants and procedures

We will carry out this research as probably the beginning of study of role conflict in Nepalese context. It will be survey based research having a questionnaire consisting items related to work-family conflict, family work conflict and job satisfaction. The sample used will be based on sample of convenience. We will use the validated questionnaire already used in western set up. It will be pilot tested with a maximum of 10 participants for measuring its ease while filling the questionnaire in Nepalese context. This will also help us allocate time required to fill one questionnaire. Then if needed, we will modify the questionnaire to customize it in Nepalese context.

Then we will administer this questionnaire on a sample size of 150 working women in various types of organizations like government organization, finance sectors, NGOs and INGOs, entrepreneurs, service sectors etc targeting 20 participants from each category. We will follow-up our respondents to encourage them to fill them and return them to us within a week's time frame assuming that we will have 100 completed forms as it is a matter of concern for most of the women. (n=100; 20=government officials, 20=financial sector, 20=NGOs, 20=service sector and 20=entrepreneurs). The working samples are selectively chosen from officer onward position assuming that the higher the position, the higher is the responsibility both at home and in the office.

Basically it will be a kind of reflective survey (?), using the same test items but on different population and sample size. We are doing this because we want to follow the validated and reliable tools. And it can give a ground for comparison. Overall, the questionnaire consists of 31 items including demographic information, WFC items , FWC items, job satisfaction items and some questions suitable for Nepalese context. The responses will be scored in two ways - likert scale and close questions with Yes/No responses. It will be preceded by demographic questions which will latter on give us broader scope for comparison among various items like relationship of age with conflict, position with conflict, family type with conflict etc. We will calculate the mean and standard deviation of each factor.

Measures:

Role conflict:

Operational definition - The demand factors of each role are : responsibilities, requirements, expectations, duties, commitments.

Work-family conflict

Operational definition: WFC is the form of inter-role conflict in which the general demands of, time devoted to, and strain created by the job interfere with performing family-related responsibilities. (as mentioned in the scale used)

Work family conflict will be measured with five items questionnaire. One additional item will be reversed to stabilize the responses. These items are already validated ones as they are tested in one of the researches done in the West by ……………………………………… The items are:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

Responses will be recorded in likert scale ranging from 1-5 and the negative question will be reversed. The responses will be summed up. Here, it is obvious that the higher the score the greater the satisfaction, i.e., less conflict.

Family work conflict:

Operational definition: FWC is a form of inter-role conflict in which the general demands of, time devoted to, and strain created by the family interfere with performing work related responsibilities. (as mentioned in the scale)

Family work conflict will again be measured by one of the tested tools in Western context so that we don't have to validate it. This is again a set of five questions plus a reverse question. The items will be scaled on 1-5. The items are as follows:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Job satisfaction:

Operational definition - positive emotional state towards work.

We have again used a tool to measure the job satisfaction. It consists of ----- questions. The scaling is again on likert scale.

The items specifically designed for measuring job related aspects with respect to work family and family work conflict.

Hypotheses: Lower WFC higher job satisfaction

Higher WFC lower job satisfaction

Lower WFC lower job satisfaction

Higher WFC higher job satisfaction

No relationship between WFC and job satisfaction

Some of the specific items are:

Career growth/promotion: Items 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18 are designed to measure career growth aspect of the respondent.

Job switching/turnover: Items 19, 20 and 21 give answer related to job satisfaction, turnover, and influencing factors in job related decision making process.

Family background: Items 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 and 31 reflect the facts about the family of the respondent.

Respondents' personal information: Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 17, 18, 22 respond to personal information. We can't demark a fine line between the overlapping roles and information; still the responses might help us get relevant information.

Family type: Item number 23 will help us identify the relationship of conflict and family type - extended family and its effect on conflict vs nuclear family and its effect on role conflict.

Number and age of children: Item number 24 will clarify on the perception that the more number of younger children you have the more role demands are there at home, resulting in family to work conflict.

Supportive attitude of the family: Items 28, 29 and 30 will reflect on the issues related to family attitude towards work aspect of a women employee. It is perceived that the more support you have from your family members, the less conflict is there.

Analyses:

Results:

Discussion:

Limitations:

  1. Sample of convenience

  2. Sample size: Kathmandu valley based educated and modern society

  3. Sample taken of married women only, perceiving that WFC is more with married women?

  4. Seriousness of the respondent on this issue while answering

Scope:

Similar study in other parts of the country representing one specific tradition

Similar study on sectoral sample (eg, govt officials only, bankers only, academicians only etc)

Study on supervisor or low level women employees to assess level of stress in comparison to officer and above level women employees

Conclusion:

  • National context - more women friendly policies, less conflict, eg, Sweden's subsidized childcare and mandated parental leave policies (Hass and Hwang, 2000); Singapore

  • Positive implication - planning and prioritizing multiple tasks at home gives the skills to juggle multiple managerial responsibilities (Ruderman, M.N., Ohlott, P.J., Panjer, K. and King, S.N., 2002 Academy of Management Journal, 45, 369-386)

References

Understanding of how work affects family life and vice versa (Frone, Russell, & Cooper, 1992; Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985; O'Driscoll, Ilgen, & Hildreth, 1992).