This article investigates a change in the structuring of work time, using a natural experiment to test whether participation in a corporate initiative (Results Only Work Environment; ROWE) predicts corresponding changes in health-related outcomes. Drawing on job strain and stress process models, we theorize greater schedule control and reduced work-family conflict as key mechanisms linking this initiative with health outcomes. Longitudinal survey data from 659 employees at a corporate headquarters shows that ROWE predicts changes in health-related behaviors, including almost an extra hour of sleep on work nights. Increasing employees' schedule control and reducing their work-family conflict are key mechanisms linking the ROWE innovation with changes in employees' health behaviors; they also predict changes in well-being measures, providing indirect links between ROWE and well-being. This study demonstrates that organizational changes in the structuring of time can promote employee wellness, particularly in terms of prevention behaviors.
Work-family conflicts are common and consequential for employees, their families, and work organizations. Can workplaces be changed to reduce work-family conflict? Previous research has not been able to assess whether workplace policies or initiatives succeed in reducing work-family conflict or increasing work-family fit. Using longitudinal data collected from 608 employees of a white-collar organization before and after a workplace initiative was implemented, we investigate whether the initiative affects work-family conflict and fit, whether schedule control mediates these effects, and whether work demands, including long hours, moderate the initiative's effects on work-family outcomes. Analyses clearly demonstrate that the workplace initiative positively affects the work-family interface, primarily by increasing employees' schedule control. This study points to the importance of schedule control for our understanding of job quality and for management policies and practices.
Hammer LB, Zimmerman KL. Quality of Work Life. In: Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Handbook in Psychology ; 2010. pp. 399-431. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This chapter, with its focus on quality of work life, briefly reviews the history of work–family research (note that this term from here on is used generically to represent both workers with traditional and nontraditional families, as well as representing work–nonwork aspects of our lives more broadly), including work and leisure, demographic and workplace changes, and public policy developments in the United States. We discuss the research on work–family conflict and work–family enrichment, including antecedents, outcomes, and crossover effects extending to the family. This leads to a more recent discussion of work, family, and the community, followed by issues of work engagement and recovery stemming from work by our European colleagues. Implications of our current state of knowledge about work–life and quality of work–life issues for practicing managers and employing organizations are discussed throughout along with suggestions for future research in the field, including a call for more research on low-wage workers, health, cross-cultural issues, and efforts to push public policy in the direction of more support for workers and their families. We end the chapter with a proposed integrative systems model of the work–family interface that considers socioeconomic, legal, political, community, organizational, and family contextual factors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
This article examines perspectives on employer work—life initiatives as potential organizational change phenomena. Work—life initiatives address two main organizational challenges: structural (flexible job design, human resource policies) and cultural (supportive supervisors, climate) factors. While work—life initiatives serve a purpose in highlighting the need for organizational adaptation to changing relationships between work, family, and personal life, we argue they usually are marginalized rather than mainstreamed into organizational systems. We note mixed consequences of work—life initiatives for individuals and organizations. While they may enable employees to manage work and caregiving, they can increase work intensification and perpetuate stereotypes of ideal workers. In order to advance the field, organizations and scholars need to frame both structural and cultural work—life changes as part of the core employment systems to enhance organizational effectiveness and not just as strategies to support disadvantaged, non-ideal workers. We conclude with an overview of the articles in this special issue.
This article integrates research on gendered organizations and the work-family interface to investigate an innovative workplace initiative, the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), implemented in the corporate headquarters of Best Buy, Inc. While flexible work policies common in other organizations "accommodate" individuals, this initiative attempts a broader and deeper critique of the organizational culture. We address two research questions: How does this initiative attempt to change the masculinized ideal worker norm? And what do women's and men's responses reveal about the persistent ways that gender structures work and family life? Data demonstrate the ideal worker norm is pervasive and powerful, even as employees begin critically examining expectations regarding work time that have historically privileged men. Employees' responses to ROWE are also gendered. Women (especially mothers) are more enthusiastic, while men are more cautious. Ambivalence about and resistance to change is expressed in different ways depending on gender and occupational status.
This paper presents empirical research analyzing the relationship between work–family climate (operationalized in terms of three work–family climate sub-scales), organizational leadership (i.e., senior manager) characteristics, organizational commitment and turnover intent among 526 employees from 37 different hotels across the US. Using multilevel modeling, we found significant associations between work–family climate, and both organizational commitment and turnover intent, both within and between hotels. Findings underscored the importance of managerial support for employee work–family balance, the relevance of senior managers’ own work–family circumstances in relation to employees’ work outcomes, and the existence of possible contagion effects of leaders in relation to work–family climate.
Due to growing work-family demands, supervisors need to effectively exhibit family supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB). Drawing on social support theory and using data from two samples of lower wage workers, the authors develop and validate a measure of FSSB, defined as behaviors exhibited by supervisors that are supportive of families. FSSB is conceptualized as a multidimensional superordinate construct with four subordinate dimensions: emotional support, instrumental support, role modeling behaviors, and creative work-family management. Results from multilevel confirmatory factor analyses and multilevel regression analyses provide evidence of construct, criterion-related, and incremental validity. The authors found FSSB to be significantly related to work-family conflict, work-family positive spillover, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions over and above measures of general supervisor support.
Simple, inexpensive programs that teach managers to be more supportive of their direct reports' work/life issues can generate big returns in employee health and satisfaction, according to a multiyear study of hundreds of frontline workers and dozens of supervisors.
Scholars have not fully theorized the multifaceted, interdependent dimensions within the work-family ‘black box’. Taking an ecology of the life course approach, we theorize common work-family and adequacy constructs as capturing different components of employees' cognitive appraisals of fit between their demands and resources at the interface between home and work. Employees' appraisals of their work-family linkages and of their relative resource adequacy are not made independently but, rather, co-occur as identifiable constellations of fit. The life course approach hypothesizes that shifts in objective demands/resources at work and at home over the life course result in employees experiencing cycles of control, that is, corresponding shifts in their cognitive assessments of fit. We further theorize patterned appraisals of fit are key mediators between objective work-family conditions and employees' health, well-being and strategic adaptations. As a case example, we examine whether employees' assessments on 10 dimensions cluster together as patterned fit constellations, using data from a middle-class sample of 753 employees working at Best Buy's corporate headquarters. We find no single linear construct of fit that captures the complexity within the work-family black box. Instead, respondents experience six distinctive constellations of fit: one optimal; two poor; and three moderate fit constellations.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article was to integrate home demands with the demand-control-support model to test if home demands interact with job strain to increase depressive symptoms.
METHODS: Data were from 431 employees in four extended care facilities. Presence of a child younger than 18 years in the household signified home demands. The outcome was depressive symptoms based on a shortened version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.
RESULTS: The association between job strain and depressive symptoms was moderated by social support (SS) and presence of a child in the household (child). There was no association among participants with high SS and no child, but a positive one among participants with low SS and a child.
CONCLUSIONS: Job strain may be a particularly important determinant of depressive symptoms among employees with family demands. Models of job strain should expand to incorporate family demands.
Many employing organizations have adopted work-family policies, programs, and benefits. Yet managers in employing organizations simply do not know what organizational initiatives actually reduce work-family conflict and how these changes are likely to impact employees and the organization. We examine scholarship that addresses two broad questions: first, do work-family initiatives reduce employees' work-family conflict and/or improve work-family enrichment? Second, does reduced work-family conflict improve employees' work outcomes and, especially, business outcomes at the organizational level? We review over 150 peer-reviewed studies from a number of disciplines in order to summarize this rich literature and identify promising avenues for research and conceptualization. We propose a research agenda based on four primary conclusions: the need for more multi-level research, the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach, the benefits of longitudinal studies that employ quasi-experimental or experimental designs and the challenges of translating research into practice in effective ways.
This study moves from "work-family" to a multi-dimensional "life-course fit" construct (employees' cognitive assessments of resources, resource deficits, and resource demands), using a combined work-family, demands-control and ecology of the life course framing. It examined (1) impacts of job and home ecological systems on fit dimensions, and (2) whether control over work time predicted and mediated life-course fit outcomes. Using cluster analysis of survey data on a sample of 917 white-collar employees from Best Buy headquarters, we identified four job ecologies (corresponding to the job demands-job control model) and five home ecologies (theorizing an analogous home demands-home control model). Job and home ecologies predicted fit dimensions in an additive, not interactive, fashion. Employees' work-time control predicted every life-course fit dimension and partially mediated effects of job ecologies, organizational tenure, and job category.
Dried Blood Spot Collection of Health Biomarkers to Maximize Participation in Population Studies: Biomarkers are directly-measured biological indicators of disease or health. In population and social sciences, biomarkers need to be easy to obtain, transport, and analyze. Dried Blood Spot (DBS) collection meets this need, can be collected in the field with high response rates and analyzed for a variety of biomarkers.