Work family conflict amongst females in a service organisation in the Western Cape
Booysen, Illana L.
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In recent years, there has been a proliferation in research on work-family conflict which has become more prevalent in recent years due to the economic climate in which increasingly large numbers of women are entering or returning to the labour market. Finding equilibrium in work and family arenas has also become more important to South African employees. Traditional gender roles have evolved and the role of females as homemakers is no longer the norm. However, an alternative set of social standards have not yet been established as a substitute to new patterns of work and family life. As a result, it is important to focus on concerns relating to female experiences in the workplace to try and overcome the effects of work-family conflict on females.Job stress and role stress have increased dramatically in work and family life, as more women attempt to balance responsibilities at home whilst simultaneously trying to overcome challenges faced with at the office. Typically role ambiguity, role overload and role interference arises and ultimately produces two forms of conflict: time-based conflict and strain-based conflict. Self-efficacy and implementing coping strategies are means to overcome this.The objective of this study was to explore and add to existing research done on work-family conflict amongst females in the workplace. More specifically the study is to determine whether relationships exist between the variables: job stress, role stress, role overload, inter-role conflict, spousal support, coping behaviours; job, family and life satisfaction, emotional exhaustion; the nature of the relationships and the causal impacts between these variables.Two hundred questionnaires were administered and 150 were returned to women employed in a service oriented organisation in the Western Cape.The statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was utilized to analyze and present data in this research with frequency tables and graphical illustrations to provide information on key demographic variables in this study. The results reveal that there are statistically significant relationships amongst work overload and work-family conflict (WFC). There was also a significant relationship between parental overload and WFC. Moreover, the strongest relationship emerged between WFC and family-to-work conflict (FWC). Females experiencing WFC showed a tendency to rely on problem-focused coping strategies. In addition, there was an inverse relationship between job satisfaction and WFC. There was a significant difference in WFC based on age, tenure, number of children, income and tenure. There was no significant difference in WFC on the basis of marital status. There were statistically significant differences in FWC based on some of the biographical characteristics of the respondents. There was a significant difference in FWC based on age, tenure, income and occupation.Approximately 35% of the variance in WFC can be explained by age, education, income, work overload, parental overload and spousal support. These variables account for 33.53% of the variance in WFC, and suggest that other unexplored variables could explain the variance in WFC levels experienced by respondents. Approximately 38% of the variance in role stressors can be attributed to age, education, income, work overload, parental overload and spousal support in relation to FWC. The results which emanated from the current study assist in furthering an understanding of WFC and FWC. Individual and organisational implications are discussed and recommendations are made to further enhance this study with additional research into this area being warranted.