Term Paper: Work - Family Conflict

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[. . .] (Thomas; Ganster, 1995) (Duxbury, Higgins,1991). The research by Frone has showed that Work-family conflict has shown clinical distress and depression. (Frone, 1992) A large part of the last 20 years of research has been focused on the role of mothers in their work. Research has dealt with the negative effects, which derive as a result of the employment of mothers, the effects of daycare, and the effect on marital relationship when women are employed outside home and the effects on children when mothers are working. This is because of the traditional beliefs, which are still prevalent in society that men should be the ones who should earn for the family and women are to discharge family duties.

Another important aspect of work-family conflict relates to the number of hours being spent by men and women in paid and unpaid labor. Even though men are now increasing their responsibilities for performing at home than what the contributions of theirs have been in the past to home duties, women now are increasingly taking the burden of outside work and family responsibilities together. Women thus have to bear the burden of working at home and outside and thus have to work for longer hours. Time-use data help to the understanding that men are now increasingly taking up the responsibilities of managing household responsibilities in childcare. Research of the role of men also suggests that while women struggle to maintain a balance between their career and family, men also are trying to find ways of balancing their role in their work outside the home as well as within the home in their role as a dedicated father. In today's economy work-family conflicts and of equating the work-family role is now considered as an important challenge for both men and women and of their employers.

There is an increasing amount of research being held to suggest that work-family conflict and increasing responsibilities results in affecting physical and mental illness, either directly or indirectly. There has been research, which has dealt with the relationship between conflict and stress, which has suggested that high stress leads to mental and physical illness in individuals. Research conducted by theorists Frone, Russell and Lynne, Streit and Tanguay, shows that stress leads to several negative effects at work and in the family for individuals As a result several negative behaviors of absenteeism from work, reduce in productivity of work, use of drug and alcohol results as a result of the feelings of depression which result as a result of work-family conflict. (Duxbury, Higgins, 1991). In a study being conducted of the Saskatchewan workers, the theorists analyzed a number of factors, which produced mental illness, which included depression, stress of job and burnout. According to these study workers, which displayed high levels of job stress, was 30%, which was more than the 20% who had displayed the attributes of high job stress in a similar study conducted in 1992-93 by Duxbury, Higgins and Lee.

Several studies conducted have confirmed that women are in a much greater position to be affected by work-family-community conflict and work-to-family interference and family-to-work interference as a result of the increased loads of responsibility on women when compared to men. Women since have to bear the additional responsibilities of managing the household along with their jobs outside the home end up in more-stress related conditions when compared to men. This is more so in the case of women who have to take care of children. Thus gender is considered as an important factor in several studies of work-family conflict According to studies done by Higgins, Duxbury and Lee in 1994, suggested that gender influences how conflict is being viewed and is being manifested along with the fact that gender is the main cause of work-family conflict. Theorists Greenhaus and Beutell, Gutek, Searle, and Kelpa and Davies and McAlpine have suggested that work-family conflict could be contributed to the increased number of working hours that women devote to paid and unpaid labor in comparison to the number of working hours of men. The study has also contributed work-family conflict to the level and type of the roles, which women have to engage themselves in while at home and at outside work. (Greenhaus;Beutell 1985)

The study also suggested that the degree of control which women had in their roles at home and at outside work also contributed to the level of work-family conflict. The research also contributed to the amount of work-family conflict depending on whether the parenting is being performed alone. But there are several theorists who do not agree that all stress and depression, which happens as a result of work-family conflict, is the result of gender. Theorists Frone, Russell and Barnes in 1996, were of the opinion that it is women who were wives and mothers, but men who are husbands and fathers also face stress and depression, which arises as a result of work-family conflict. Both men and women according to these theorists engage in alcohol consumption and of taking drugs when they have to face with depression and stress as a result of work-family conflict.

The study conducted by these theorists were of the opinion that while men were more being affected as a result of their family responsibilities affecting the outside employment, women were on the contrary. According to these theorists women were concerned with outside work interfering and affecting their household responsibilities. This study found, however, that women are more strongly affected by the interference imposed by work on family, while men are more adversely affected by family life interfering with work. Thus this study promotes to the understanding of other research that the conflicts, which occur as a result of work-family conflict, have different understandings for men and for women.

Research also demonstrates that when wives have a successful and highly demanding career, men who also possess equally demanding jobs get affected as a result of Work Family Conflict. (Etzion, 1988). Research being conducted shows that though women are the greatest sufferers of work-family conflict, men also suffer from the effects resulting from work-family conflict. In a report of the Families and Work Institute, which conducted a National Study of the Changing Workforce in 1993, showed that in families where both husband and wife were full-time employed, the work-family conflict in such families was in no way significantly different between men and women. (Levine & Pittinsky, 1997). The study also showed that in terms of the amount of conflict experienced by fathers, nearly one-fifth reported a lot of conflict while two-fifths reported some conflict. Along with this, another information provided by the study is that 56% of fathers still showed a feeling of some or of a lot of conflict in the more traditional families where the mother stayed at home (Levine & Pittinsky, 1997). Thus this study helps in leading to the understanding that while it is essential to discuss about working fathers as well as working mothers while discussing about the problems experienced by working parents.

A recent study conducted by Cinamon & Rich in 2002 helped to provide an understanding of the necessity of analyzing the relative salience of the roles relating to family and work in order to understand the concept of work-family conflict. The study was made with the help of measuring role values and role commitment. The study provided an examination of the simultaneous perceptions of the importance of work, parent, and the roles as partners by respondents. For the study three groups of participants who were distinct were considered. In the first group were persons who provided a great importance to both their role at work and in their family, which is considered as the Dual profile. The second group consisted of individuals who assigned low importance to their role in the family and provided great importance to work outside the family. This is considered as work profile.

The third group consisted of individuals who provided great importance in their role in the family and less importance to career oriented or job outside the family. This is considered as the family profile. There were differences found in age, the number of hours spend for work outside home and at home and the amount of the support of the partner between the members of the three groups. Along with these differences, other differences were found in the work-family conflict of the members of the three groups. The existence of different groups suggest that the level of work-family conflict is due to the level of importance being assigned by the participants to the different roles in their life's. These three groups were analyzed to understand to the gender differences between genders and within one's own gender. These gender differences were necessitated in the different levels of work -- family conflict and in the difference in importance of the role assigned to work and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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