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Prioritization of factors affecting the work life balance of employees in Iranian organizations.

INTRODUCTION

Work-family balance is defined as "satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home, with a minimum of role conflict" [8]. Moreover, Parkes and Langford [21] defined this as "an individual's ability to meet work and family commitments, as well as other non-work responsibilities and activities". That is, these two definitions for work-life balance imply establishing an acceptable combination of work and life [26]. And the majority of work-life studies have defined work-life balance in terms of the level of work-life conflict [5]. This study assumes that work-life balance corresponds to the absence of work- life conflict.

Several empirical studies have showed that the experience of work-life balance is positively related to employees' performance and organizational performance as well [13,21]. More specifically, work-life balance has been shown to have positive outcomes, such as low turnover intention, improvement of performance, and job satisfaction [7].Work-life balance contributes to increasing employees' in- role performance [17]. The experience of psychological well-being and harmony in life helps employees concentrate on their work, resulting in better performance. For example, Netemeyer, Maxham, and Pullig (2005) asserted that work-family conflict can yield a negative impact on both in-role performance and extra-role performance.

In addition, work-life balance has a positive effect on employees' affective commitment to their organizations [6,19]. That is, the experience of work-life balance generates feelings of loyalty to the organization and increases affective commitment. Affective commitment is an emotional attachment to the organizations or the employers which can cause employees to want to remain with the organizations [2].

Employees become strongly attached to their organizations when their needs and expectations are satisfied [18]. The experience of work-life balance satisfies employees' psychological demands to maintain the balance between work and life. Several empirical studies have supported that employees' experience of work-life balance contributes to favorable evaluation of their organizations and affective commitment [19]. Similarly, work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with work (FIW) are negatively related to affective commitment [25].

In this research we are going to Prioritizing of factors affecting the work life balance among employees in Iranian organizations.

1- Literature Review:

Hye [14] analyzed Work-Life Balance and Employees' Performance: The Mediating Role of Affective Commitment. The results showed no direct effect of work-life balance on in-role performance. However, it was found that employees' experience of work-life balance increases affective commitment and that affective commitment has a positive influence on in-role performance.

Gupta Abhishek [12] analized Quality of Working Life and Organizational Development. The result show that Quality of Working Life" is a term that had been used to describe the broader job-related experience an individual has. Quality of Working Life is not a unitary, but has been seen as incorporating a hierarchy of perspectives that not only include work-based factors such as job satisfaction, satisfaction with pay and relationships with work colleagues, but also factors that broadly reflect life satisfaction and general feelings of well-being.

Rincy [22] examined an exploratory study on the work life balance of woman entrepreneurs in south India. This study revealed that role overload, dependent care issues, quality of health, problems in time management and lack of proper social support are the major factors influencing the WLB of women entrepreneurs in India. Furthermore, even though the vast majority of the entrepreneurs examined in this study suffers from WLB issues, there are significant differences in the level of WLB issues faced by the various categories of women entrepreneurs.

Schluter [23] analized Work/life balance and health: the Nurses and Midwives e- cohort study. verall, 7633 (2.3%) eligible nurses and midwives participated (6308 from Australia and 1325 from New Zealand) from a total pool of 334 400. Age, gender, occupational and health profiles were similar between countries and to national figures. However, some differences were noted; for instance, Queensland participants were over-represented, while Victorian and South Australian participants were under-represented, and 28.2% of Australians were in high strain positions compared with 18.8% of New Zealanders.

Powell and Greenhaus (2010), examined whether variables selected from theories of psychology of gender as well identity, boundary and role theories explained effect on work of family conflict and "positive spillover". Women experienced higher positive spillover because they were higher in feminity. Women managers did not experience different levels of conflict than men, individuals who scored higher on measured family role salience, which was positively related to feminity, experienced lower conflict. Role Segmentation not only reduced conflict but also had the unintended consequence of reducing positive spillover.

Malliga Dasgupta (2010) explored the relationship between psychosocial variables and emotional intelligence of women employees in Information Technology Industry. The psychosocial variables included in the study were Quality of Work Life, Work Family Role Conflict and Perceived Happiness of female IT professionals. The sample consisted of 30 female IT professionals of Kolkata. The findings positively correlated with Quality of Work Life and Happiness, indicating that it contributes toward achieving higher Quality of Work Life and greater perceived happiness and were negatively correlated with both the domains of Work family Role Conflict, indicating that Emotional Intelligence tunes down the perception of Role conflict and thereby reduces the stress produced by it.

Buddhapriya [4] studied the impact of family responsibilities on the career decisions of women professionals and probed the type of work-life support they experience from their employer. The study was conducted on 121 women professionals across different levels. The study result that commitment to family responsibility and lack of gender sensitive policies by employers are barriers which affect (women professionals) career advancement as they are making career trade-offs because of the family responsibilities.

Koonme [16] Ethics institutionalization, quality of work life, and employee job- related outcomes: A survey of human resource managers in Thailand. The research findings not only validate the research findings in the U.S. but also verify the importance of ethics institutionalization and QWL programs for business organizations in Thailand.

Alexandra [1] Making the link between work-life balance practices and organizational performance. This review of the literature provides some evidence for the claim regarding recruitment, but there is insufficient evidence to support the notion that work-life practices enhance performance by means of reduced work-life conflict

Gregory [11] analyzed Trade Unions and Work-life Balance: Changing Times in France and the UK? The article links the emergence of union WLB programmes and bargaining agendas to gender-equality concerns within the union and to the gender composition of the sector, as well as to the working time regime, including the mode of action, partnership being a significant corollary of WLB campaigning in the UK. We find support for the modernization thesis in the UK, particularly in the public sector, but within severe constraints defined by employer initiative.

Nicolina [20] Reconsidering Work-Life Balance Debates: Challenging Limited Understandings of the 'Life' Component in the Context of Ethnic Minority Women's Experiences. his article argues for a broader, more diverse approach to the 'life' component of the work-life balance equation. This is discussed within the context of ethnic minority women's experiences of balancing their work and personal life, contending that there are restrictions in our understanding of lives that may fall outside the standard white western model.

Thompson & Prottas [26] stated five dimensions of work-life culture that affect whether employee feel comfortable using work-life benefits: (1) managerial support for work-life balance; (2) perceptions of potential career consequences for participating in work-life programs; (3) perceptions of heavy time demands; (4) perceptions that work-life programs are primarily for women; and (5) co-workers support for using Work-life programs.

Jennifer [15] analyzed Women's work-life balance trajectories in the UK: reformulating choice and constraint in transitions through part-time work across the life-course. Data presented here reveal that factors in the first three dimensions often override and undermine the carrying out of preferences in women's decision-making about reconciling work and family life. Furthermore, the intersections of these different dimensions result in women making 'strategic', 'reactive' or 'compromised choice' transitions, which have consequences for the maintenance of careers and labour market prospects.

Macinne (2006) analyzed work life balance in Europe. This analysis reveals two new features of WLB policies. First, most are quite contradictory. What makes them popular (such as enabling the 'baby boomer' generation to withdraw from work on favourable terms) also makes them unlikely to address their goal of specifically supporting parenting and avoiding a 'baby bust'. Conversely effective support for parenting may require far more fundamental change than most WLB policies envisage. Second, demographic change has heightened the importance of the inter-generational transfer of resources between those now retired from employment, those currently in it, and those yet to enter it. This reveals a key feature of WLB policies to be how far these transfers are socialized or left to the family.

Smithson [24] examined Discourses of Work-Life Balance: Negotiating 'Genderblind' Terms in Organizations. They consider the effects of these accounts; specifically the effect on those who take up flexible working, and the perceived backlash against policies viewed as favoring women or parents. We argue that the location of work-life balance and flexibility debates within a gender-neutral context can in practice result in maintaining or encouraging gendered practices within organizations. Implications of this for organizations, for policymakers and for feminist researchers are discussed.

Diane [9] analyzed The New Economy and the Work-Life Balance: Conceptual Explorations and a Case Study of New Media. The results indicate that while new media creates new opportunities for people to combine interesting paid work with caring responsibilities, a marked gender imbalance remains.

2- Methodology:

This paper is regarded as an applied research in terms of its objective. Also it is regarded as a descriptive research in terms of research method.

All experts and specialists in field of "working women" in Iran were our statistical population. About 115 samples using Random sampling were chosen as our samples.

A questionnaire was used for data collection in this paper and for data analyzing, Friedman ranking test has been used to prioritize factors.

Friedman test is the method applied in this study. This test indicates the relationship between variables. Using this test, we can investigate a significant difference or correlation between the observed frequencies. In this test, if the null hypothesis is true, it is assumed that the observed distribution of ranks within each column is the result of random factors. Therefore, it is expected that the rankings occur with equal frequencies in each column.

Validity of questionnaire:

In order to determining validity of questionnaire, Delphi method were applied. Delphi is a systematic process for collecting data and division of available knowledge of experts and elites, accomplished by distribution of questionnaires among participants then controlling the feedback from answers and ideas.

As Nowel (1998) said, Stages of Performing Delphi are:

* To form the executive team and to supervise the method of performing Delphi

* To select one or several panel to participate in activities. Members of these panels must usually be

experts and elites

* To establish the activities for preparing questionnaires for the first stage

* To check the writing structure of the questionnaires

* To send the first series of questionnaires to the experts and elites

* To analyze the returned responses from the first stage

* To prepare the second questionnaire for the second stage (along with the required reviews)

* To send the second questionnaires to the experts and elites

* To analyze the returned responses in second stage (the levels 7 to 9 must be continued to the time we will acquire stable answers).

* To prepare the report by the researcher

According to the Delphi stages, Indicators of the research model variables finally defined as below:

Role overload:

--As my employees look after all the business roles, I am quite contented in my life

--I have become a successful entrepreneur by sacrificing many of my family roles

--Dute to the excessive work load and lack of time, I am not able to give proper attention in my personal life as well as in my business

--As I have to do multiple roles in the family, I could not succeed in the entrepreneurial domain

--My family life seldom suffers due to my entrepreneurial role

--As I am burdened with business and family roles, I find it difficult to attend social / community activities

--I am too fatigued to look after my business due to my work load in my family

--I have to perform many roles in a given time

Quality of health:

--Due to the work / family issues and lack of time, I find it difficult to take care of my health

--The role conflicts in the business and family life given me a lot of stress

--I feel angry with my employees and family members as I am not able to balance my work and family issues

--As my business drains away my energy and time, I feel sick at home

--Being satisfied in the entrepreneurial and family domains, I feel relaxed and sleep very well

--After becoming an entrepreneur, I frequently visit my physician for health issues

--My health problems are related to the long and continuous work schedule

Support network:

--My social support network is very helpful in dealing with the dependent care issues

--Being an entrepreneur, I am respected and helped by the society

--My family provides me the strength and support to face the challenges of business

--My family members are over stretched of make me a successful entrepreneur

--My family members are not willing to listen to my work related/ personal problems

--My spouse understands and accommodates my pre-occupation as an entrepreneur

Reliability of the Variables:

In this study, Cronbach's alpha coefficient is applied to identify the reliability of questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha coefficient is equal to 0.899 in initial sample of questionnaires and more than 0.70. Therefore, the reliability of questionnaire is confirmed. The output of SPSS software for determining the reliability is presented as follows:
Table 1: Reliability of Statistics

Cronbach's Alpha   Variable            N of Items

.782               Role overload       10
0.927              Quality of health   7
0.884              Support network     6


Data Analyzing (Friedman test for ranking the variables):

Given that only three variables, the, role over load, quality of health, support network, are identified as the factors affecting the work life balance among employees in organization of Iran & India, we prioritized the indexes of these three variables:

The role over load:
Table 2: Friedman test results for prioritizing the indexes of role
over load variable

Test Statistics (a)

N             115

Chi-Square    31.408
df            7
Asymp. Sig.   .000

(a.) Friedman Test


Since the significance level in the table above is less than 0.05, the indexes of this variable are not at the same level in terms of importance. Their mean ranks are presented in the following table:
Table 3: Prioritizing the indexes of role over load

Questions                                                    Mean rank

As my employees look after all the business roles, I am      5.26
quite contented in my life

I have become a successful entrepreneur by sacrificing       4.70
many of my family roles

Dute to the excessive work load and lack of time, I am       4.65
not able to give proper attention in my personal life as
well as in my business

As I have to do multiple roles in the family, I could not    4.48
succeed in the entrepreneurial domain

My family life seldom suffers due to my entrepreneurial      4.39
role

As I am burdened with business and family roles, I find it   4.56
difficult to attend social / community activities

I am too fatigued to look after my business due to my work   4.22
load in my family

I have to perform many roles in a given time                 3.74


Based on the mean ranks in the table above, the indexes of role over load factors are prioritized:

* As my employees look after all the business roles, I am quite contented in my life

* I have become a successful entrepreneur by sacrificing many of my family roles

* Dute to the excessive work load and lack of time, I am not able to give proper attention in my personal life as well as in my business

* As I am burdened with business and family roles, I find it difficult to attend social / community activities

* As I have to do multiple roles in the family, I could not succeed in the entrepreneurial domain

* My family life seldom suffers due to my entrepreneurial role

* I am too fatigued to look after my business due to my work load in my family

* I have to perform many roles in a given time

Quality of health:
Table 4: Friedman test results for prioritizing the
indexes of quality of health variable

Test Statistics (a)

N             115

Chi-Square    35.604
df            6
Asymp. Sig.   .000

(a.) Friedman Test


Since the significance level is less than 0.05 in the table above, the indexes of this variable are not at a same level in terms of importance and their mean ranks are presented in the following table:
Table 5: Prioritizing the indexes of quality of health

Questions                                                   Mean rank

Due to the work / family issues and lack of time, I find    4.79
it difficult to take care of my health

The role conflicts in the business and family life given    3.87
me a lot of stress

I feel angry with my employees and family members as I am   3.94
not able to balance my work and family issues

As my business drains away my energy and time, I feel       3.58
sick at home

Being satisfied in the entrepreneurial and family domains   4.45
, I feel relaxed and sleep very well

After becoming an entrepreneur, I frequently visit my       3.68
physician for health issues

My health problems are related to the long and continuous   3.70
work schdule


Based on the mean ranks in the table above, the indexes of quality of health factors are prioritized:

* Due to the work / family issues and lack of time, I find it difficult to take care of my health

* Being satisfied in the entrepreneurial and family domains, I feel relaxed and sleep very well

* I feel angry with my employees and family members as I am not able to balance my work and family issues

* The role conflicts in the business and family life given me a lot of stress

* My health problems are related to the long and continuous work schdule

* After becoming an entrepreneur, I frequently visit my physician for health issues

* As my business drains away my energy and time, I feel sick at home

Support network:
Table 6: Friedman test results for prioritizing the
indexes of support network variable

Test Statistics (a)

N             115
Chi-Square    23.384
df            5
Asymp. Sig.   .000

(a.) Friedman Test


Since the significance level is less than 0.05 in the table above, the indexes of this variable are not at a same level in terms of importance and their mean ranks are presented in the following table:
Table 7: Prioritizing the indexes of support network

Questions                                                    Mean rank

My social support network is very helpful in dealing with    3.07
the dependent care issues

Being an entrepreneur, I am respected and helped by the      3.33
society

My family provides me the strength and support to face the   3.23
challenges of business

My family members are over stretched of make me a            3.71
successful entrepreneur

My family members are not willing to listen to my work       3.89
related/ personal problems

My spouse understands and accommodates my pre-occupation     3.76
as an entrepreneur


Based on the mean ranks in the table above, the indexes of support network are prioritized:

* My family members are not willing to listen to my work related/ personal problems

* My spouse understands and accommodates my pre-occupation as an entrepreneur

* My family members are over stretched of make me a successful entrepreneur

* Being an entrepreneur, I am respected and helped by the society

* My family provides me the strength and support to face the challenges of business

* My social support network is very helpful in dealing with the dependent care issues

Conclusion:

Friedman test is then applied for ranking each effective factor. Furthermore, since the significance level of Friedman test is more than 0.05 for cultural compatibility, thus the indexes of this variable are at the same level in terms of importance. According to the mean ranks, the indexes of role over load are prioritized as follows:

* As my employees look after all the business roles, I am quite contented in my life

* I have become a successful entrepreneur by sacrificing many of my family roles

* Dute to the excessive work load and lack of time, I am not able to give proper attention in my personal life as well as in my business

* As I am burdened with business and family roles, I find it difficult to attend social / community activities

* As I have to do multiple roles in the family, I could not succeed in the entrepreneurial domain

* My family life seldom suffers due to my entrepreneurial role

* I am too fatigued to look after my business due to my work load in my family

* I have to perform many roles in a given time

the indexes of quality of health are prioritized as follows:

* Due to the work / family issues and lack of time, I find it difficult to take care of my health

* Being satisfied in the entrepreneurial and family domains, I feel relaxed and sleep very well

* I feel angry with my employees and family members as I am not able to balance my work and family issues

* The role conflicts in the business and family life given me a lot of stress

* My health problems are related to the long and continuous work schdule

* After becoming an entrepreneur, I frequently visit my physician for health issues

* As my business drains away my energy and time, I feel sick at home

the indexes of support network are prioritized as follows:

* My family members are not willing to listen to my work related/ personal problems

* My spouse understands and accommodates my pre-occupation as an entrepreneur

* My family members are over stretched of make me a successful entrepreneur

* Being an entrepreneur, I am respected and helped by the society

* My family provides me the strength and support to face the challenges of business

* My social support network is very helpful in dealing with the dependent care issues

ARTICLE INFO

Article history: Received 5 July 2015

Accepted 10 August 2015

Available online 25 August 2015

REFERENCES

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Matin Arablou

PhD student of Management Science and Engineering, Wuhan University Of

Technology, Hubei, China.

Corresponding Author: Matin Arablou, PhD student of Management Science and Engineering, Wuhan University Of Technology, Hubei, China.
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