Project Topics

WORK-LIFE BALANCE AND EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT

   WORK-LIFE  BALANCE AND EMPLOYEE
COMMITMENT

ABSTRACT

The
research profers an appraisal of 
work-life balance and employee commitment. It provides a conceptual
analysis  of work-life balance and
determines  its correlation or non correlation
with employee commitment. The research typify a significant dimension in human
resources management as it projects the importance of improving workers moral
for high productivity through providing a work condition that enhances a
balance between employee work hours and other employee personal and family
commitment.

INTRODUCTION

Work life balance describes the relationship between your
work and the commitments in the rest of your life, and how they impact on one
another.Employers, employees and government want to maximise participation in
the workforce. However, in our demanding lives many people struggle to
balance work and the responsibilities of caring for children, family members
with a disability or elderly parents.For other workers it’s often difficult
to find time outside work for study, volunteering, taking care of their own
health or participating in sport and recreation. There is no ideal work life
balance; everyone is different and the ‘right’ balance may alter over time as
families grow older and personal commitments change.Having options about how
work is organised makes managing work and life demands possible by allowing
employees to work in non-traditional work patterns and locations that better
fit their personal commitments. Overall quality of life improves and
businesses also benefit from employees’ higher morale and commitment. For
employers the capacity to negotiate flexible work arrangements provides an
antidote to loss of skills and experience and the high cost of recruitment
and retention in a competitive labour market. Employers who provide flexible
work options immediately gain a competitive edge in the labour market by
becoming ’employers of choice.’

1.1   
BACKGROUND
OF THE STUDY

The concept of work-life balance, also referred to as
‘work-life conflict’ or ‘work-family conflict’, has received a great deal of
attention from scholars in recent times. Whilst there have been various
interpretations of the term, here we use the definition from the New Zealand
Department of Labour website (2007) that describes it as “…effectively
managing the juggling act between paid work and the other activities that are
important to people”. Work-life imbalance can appear in various forms from
the inability to remove oneself psychologically from the demands of the job
(Messersmith, 2007:430), to a blurring of the lines between work and home
life (Boswell and Olson-Buchanan, 2007:593).Despite being a relatively new
body of thought, the existence of academic studies on work-life balance is
broad. Focuses range from political action (see Bryson, Warner-Smith, Brown
and Fray, 2007) to the impact of technologies (see Boswell et. al. 2007) to
its effect on worker’s attitudes (see McPherson, 2007). This saturation is
hardly surprising given that, according to a report written on behalf of
global research organisation ESOMAR, over two thirds of people across 23
different countries believe they lack work-life balance and nearly half felt
personally affected by the imbalance (Echegaray, Cornish, and Donnelly,
2006:9).The research shall therefore 
determine work-life balance and employee commitment

1.2   
STATEMENT
OF THE PROBLEM

The problem confronting this research is to appraise
work-life balance and employee commitment.The basis for the research stems
from numerous complaint and  the
inability of employees to maintain a balance between their official work and
personal and family lives. It is also a significant dimension in human
resources management to profer solution to work-life balance and employee
commitment .

1.3   
RESEARCH
QUESTIONS

1       
What
is the nature of work-life balance and employee commitment

2       
What
is  the effect of work-life balance and
employee commitment

1.4   
OBJECTIVE
OF  THE RESEARCH

1       
To
appraise work-life balance and employee commitment

2       
To
determine the effect of work-life balance and employee commitment

3       
To
profer strategy to managing work-life balance and employee commitment

1.5   
SIGNIFICANCE
OF THE  RESEARCH

The research shall determine the nature of work-life
balance and employee commitment and shall profer a significant human resource
management strategy to work-life balance and employee commitment.

The
research shall also serve as a veritable source of information  for issues on work-life balance and
employee commitment

1.6   
STATEMENT
OF THE HYPOTHESIS

1    HO   There is a relationship between work-life
balance and employee commitment

      Hi    There is no relationship between
work-life balance and employee commitment

2   Ho    The level of work-life balance is high

     Hi     The level of work-life balance is low

3    Ho   The effect of work-life balance and
employee commitment is low

      Hi    The effect of work-life balance and
employee commitment is high.

1.7   
SCOPE
OF THE STUDY

The study profers an appraisal of work-life balance and
employee commitment and elucidate

a significant human resource dimension strategy to
managing work-life balance an employee

commitment.

1.8   
DEFINITION
OF TERMS

WORK-LIFE
BALANCE DEFINED

Work life balance describes the relationship between your
work and the commitments in the rest of yourand how they impact on one
another

 

Definition: Employee Commitment is the psychological attachment and the
resulting loyalty of an employee to an organization.
According to Kanter (’68) there are 3 types of EC: Continuance, Cohesion and
Control Commitment.
According to Meyer and Allen (1991) there are 3 mindsets for an employee to
be commited to an organization:
1. AFFECTIVE COMMITMENT: positive feelings of identification with, attachment
to, and involvement in the organization.
2. NORMATIVE COMMITMENT: feelings of obligation to remain with the
organization resulting from values and beliefs.
3. CONTINUANCE COMMITMENT: the result of the perceived cost associated with
leaving.

The field of work-life balance,
although new, spans a wide range of academic fields. This study examines the
relationship between work-life balance and Meyer and Allen’s (1991) three
components of organisational commitment. It found that a positive correlation
exists between affective commitment and perceived work-life balance. Results
also showed that no significant relationship exists between continuance or
normative commitment and perceived work-life balance. However, the strongest
correlation found to work-life balance perceptions was that of worker
identification with the goals of the organisation.

 

Introduction

The
concept of work-life balance, also referred to as ‘work-life conflict’ or
‘work-family conflict’, has received a great deal of attention from scholars
in recent times. Whilst there have been various interpretations of the term,
here we use the definition from the New Zealand Department of Labour website
(2007) that describes it as “…effectively managing the juggling act between
paid work and the other activities that are important to people”. Work-life
imbalance can appear in various forms from the inability to remove oneself
psychologically from the demands of the job (Messersmith, 2007:430), to a
blurring of the lines between work and home life (Boswell and Olson-Buchanan,
2007:593).

Despite
being a relatively new body of thought, the existence of academic studies on
work-life balance is broad. Focuses range from political action (see Bryson,
Warner-Smith, Brown and Fray, 2007) to the impact of technologies (see
Boswell et. al. 2007) to its effect on worker’s attitudes (see McPherson,
2007). This saturation is hardly surprising given that, according to a report
written on behalf of global research organisation ESOMAR, over two thirds of
people across 23 different countries believe they lack work-life balance and
nearly half felt personally affected by the imbalance (Echegaray, Cornish,
and Donnelly, 2006:9).

Literature
Review

Guest
(2002:256), who provides a general review of the topic, believes that the
contemporary prevalence of work-life imbalance is caused by the excessive
demands of work in affluent societies. Factors such as technological
advancements, the increasing need for higher efficiency levels and the
entrance of women into the workforce (Guest, 2002:257) all contribute to the
intensity of pressure on workers and cause inter-role conflict between the
work and non-work spheres.

Publications
discussing findings from The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2003
(Wilson, Meagher, Gibson, Denemark& Western, 2005 and van Wanrooy&
Wilson, 2006) are useful for placing matters of work-life balance into an
Australian context. Van Wanrooy et.al. (2006:349) found that those who work
longer hours, despite reporting a higher work-family conflict, believe that
long working hours are a choice. The authors claim that this perception is
the result of the ‘liberal’ working time regime that exists in Australia (van
Wanrooy et. al. 2006:350) wherein unreasonable demands on workers are
structurally ingrained in culture. Subsequently, the gap between hours that
workers would prefer and those they actually commit to is simply accepted due
to the institutionalisation of standards and absence of solid legislation to
regulate long working hours in the Australian workforce.

The
results of The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2003 also show
that the work-life balancing act impacts in greater (albeit slightly) levels
on Australian families (Wilson et. al. 2005:55). Edgar (2005:3) notes the
guilt experienced by parents who perhaps don’t spend as much time as they
‘ought’ to with their children due to work commitments. This is captured in
the reflective piece by Stevens (2007), an artist who yearns for a healthier
work-life balance. She writes:

My days
were too full of distractions and interruptions. When I drew, I felt guilty
about being away from my family. When I was with my family, I felt guilty
about not drawing.

Whilst
this example is useful in contextualising the damage work-life imbalance can
cause Australian families, we now shift the focus to why this increasing
trend is having a bearing on the attitudes and behaviours of workers; of
immense relevance to organisations (Siegel, Post, Brockner, Fishman and
Garden, 2005:13).

Drawing
on an article in The Age newspaper, Gettler (2007:14) explains how
advancements in technology and the onset of globalisation have produced a
“syndrome of 24/7 availability”. It is through the accessibility of devices
such as laptops, BlackBerrys and PDAs that work has entered the private realm
and enabled workers to carry out job responsibilities from anywhere in the
world. According to Gettler (2007:14) organisations are increasingly
realising the need to provide solutions to their employee’s conflict between
life spent working and time devoted to the family and other personal
commitments. ‘The Way Ahead Report’ published by Managing Work/Life Balance
International (2007) documents results of an annual benchmarking survey into
the status of the work-life balance programs of organisations throughout
Australia. The report promotes the benefits of participation to employees and
also creates a standard for organisations to strive for.

In fact
there are academic articles available that have sought to measure the effects
of employer initiatives designed to minimise work-life conflict. For example
Premeaux and Adkins (2007:705) reported that family-friendly policies (FFPs)
contribute minimally to workers’ feelings of inter-role conflict. It would be
expected, however, that employee support programs would improve the worker’s
relationship with the organisation. The findings of Premeaux et.al. (2007:722)
support this assumption; however it is through the antecedents of managerial
support and less consequences of using FFPs that the connection is made.
Workers may believe accepting such personal benefits as maternity leave to be
frowned upon and therefore detrimental to their career. Thus, managerial
support combined with cultural encouragement of family-friendly programs
contribute positively to both work-life balance and organisational
commitment.

In a
similar vein, the study by Siegel et. al. (2005:14) was based on the
hypothesis that low levels of work-life conflict and high levels of
procedural fairness result in employee outcome favourability – which interact
to influence organisational commitment. The results found that higher levels
of work-life conflict do not necessarily lead to a decreased organisational
commitment and that procedural fairness is a mitigating factor (Siegel et.
al. 2005:17). Messersmith’s (2007:431) article summarises the body of
research on the work-life conflict experienced by IT professionals and finds
that work-life conflict is negatively correlated to organisational
commitment. Within the Australian construction industry a survey amongst
females found that whilst career and work environment were important
predictors of organisational commitment, family variables, such as number of
dependent children, failed to relate (Lingard and Lin, 2004:415).

Adding a
technological dynamic to the relationship between work-life balance and
organisational commitment, Boswell et. al. (2007:592) discovered that those
more likely to use communication devices after working hours recorded higher
ambition and job involvement levels. Despite not finding a connection between
communicative technology use and emotional organisational commitment, the use
of these devices during non-work time correlated positively with employee
work-life conflict (Boswell et.al. 2007:603).

It
should be noted that organisational commitment is a dynamic that is changing
as work is no longer necessarily a major source of one’s identity (Bauman,
2005:27). Guest (2002:257-258) investigates the intentions of the new
generation of workers, who supposedly place greater importance on achieving a
work-life balance than previous generations. He reasons that these workers
are less willing to display commitment to the organisation due to the
unstable employment market and trend towards high employee turnover (Guest,
2002:257). The Meaning of Work Team (1987) used the question “would you still
work if you won enough money never to need to work again?” to gauge the
extent to which work is a central life interest. While most would perceive
their motivation to work as stemming from the need to generate income it is
possible that when faced with the decision to give up work this consciousness
may be challenged.

Research
Aims

This
research aims to build on the theoretical framework provided by Meyer and
Allen (1991) on organisati

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