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The Dynamics of Work-Family Conflict

The Dynamics of Work-Family Conflict, illustrative photo

Credit: Alicia Kubista / Andrij Borys Associates

Work-family conflict (WFC) is an important line of inquiry in organizational behavior and human resource management research. The topic is relevant to the computing and communication field not only because modern communication technologies allow for more integration of work and family roles than ever before15 but because recent advances in computing technology offer new ways to respond to and understand WFC. WFC has been empirically associated with employees' job and life dissatisfaction, poor physical and psychological health, and rising voluntary turnover rates and work stress.5 WFC has also been found to have a negative correlation with various aspects of organizations, including performance, commitment, psychological contract, and even strategy planning.20 Our analysis of American Community Survey and Census data21 from 2015 found over 75.2% of males and over 60.5% of females in married couples have their own earnings, with dual-income families emerging as the predominant family structure in the U.S.

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Considerable effort has gone toward trying to understand the antecedents and role of WFC. Research shows individual characteristics and experience influence perception of WFC,6 with two significant implications for the dynamics of WFC: Different individuals may respond to the same WFC differently, and individuals may react to the same WFC differently over time through their attempts to cope with WFC and their changing situations. However, not enough research has considered the dynamics of WFC, especially regarding individual differences. In addition, no one fully understands the relationships between WFC and job and family satisfaction sufficiently due to inconsistent findings about their relationships across different studies.14,17 Moreover, emerging social media could be reshaping the dynamics of WFC and remains unexplored.


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