Working to live, not living to work: a study of work family conflict among Sri Lankan banking employees

Kengatharan, Naveneethakrishnan (2014) Working to live, not living to work: a study of work family conflict among Sri Lankan banking employees. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Background and purpose Work family literature demonstrates the great vitality and diversity of scholarship in the field and it is an omnipresent factor in the study of contemporary organizations and society. The majority of work family interference studies have been conducted in nations with individualist culture and the resultant prevalent conceptualisations and models mostly reflect such cultural contexts. Unfortunately, little work has been carried out in countries with collectivist culture and the research that has been done has applied the conceptualisations and models developed in individualist cultural contexts without question. This study therefore focused on Sri Lanka, a collectivist cultural nation. Its aims were to identify the prevalent forms of work family conflict (WFC) and to construct a model of WFC relevant to collectivist culture by identifying the main factors that are associated with variation in WFC. Method of investigation The research was conducted in a higher status occupation, banking, which typically has higher levels of WFC. It was carried out in three stages: first, a small scale exploratory qualitative study amongst a range of bank employees showed that WFC was seen as an issue by all and the significance of time based, strain based and psychological based work family conflict was apparent. Second, on the basis of the exploratory study, a self report questionnaire was developed based on the most commonly used scale of Carlson, Kacmar and Williams but adding a psychological dimension, and piloted with 20 employees in 7 banking organisations. Finally, it was revised and sent to a sample of 843 employees in 12 banks, of which 569 usable questionnaires were returned (response rate 67%). Data analysis included descriptive statistics, factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, correlation, stepwise regression, and structural equation modelling. Findings Results confirmed the existence of time based and strain based both work to family conflict and family to work confliCt in the study sample. However, there was no evidence of behavioural based work family conflict found in the West. The existence of the proposed new dimension of psychological based work family conflict was confirmed and these findings are consistent with the differences between collectivist and individualistic cultures noted in the literature. Therefore, the original Carlson, Kacmar and Williams’ work family conflict model was revised by replacing the behavioural with the new psychological based dimension. It was found that: (1) Work to family conflict was determined by work demand, and that work demand was predicted by working hours, tenure, gender, income, formal work life policies and supervisory status. Work support was shown to act as a moderator between work demand and work to family conflict. Overall, these variables accounted for 85.4 % of variance in work to family conflict. (2) Family to work conflict was determined by family demand, and that family demand was predicted by hours spent on household chores, hours spent on childcare, hours spent on dependents, formal work life policies, informal work life policies, and gender. Family support was shown to act as a moderator between family demand and family to work conflict. Overall these variables accounted for 82.2 % of the variance in family to work conflict. (3) The results further revealed that gender role ideology moderated the relationship between family demand and family to work conflict: the relationship between family demand and family to work conflict was stronger for women who reported a high level of gender role ideology than for those who reported lower level of gender role ideology. Contributions This study made theoretical, parametric, geographical and methodological contributions to the WFC literature.

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