Work Family Conflict

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Many scholars have theorised about how people manage the possible conflicting demands of work and family life, as well as the possible antecedents and consequences of such conflicts. The literature distinguishes between two main hypotheses (Edwards & Rothbard, 2000; Frone, 2003; Geurts & Demerouti, 2003). The first is the role scarcity hypothesis, which assumes that people possess limited and fixed amounts of resources (e.g. time and energy). Managing multiple roles (e.g. the role of employee, spouse and parent) may be problematic, as these roles draw on the same scarce resources. Work-family conflict (related terms are work-family interference and negative work-family spill-over) has been defined as “a form of interrole conflict in which role…show more content…
Recently, the Survey WorkHome Interaction Nijmegen (SWING) (Geurts et al., 2005) was developed to measure both negative and positive interactions between the work and home domains. Work-home interaction is defined by Geurts et al. (2005, p. 322) as “an interactive process in which a worker’s functioning in one domain (e.g. home) is influenced by (negative or positive) load reactions that have built up in the other domain (e.g. work)”. Based on this definition, four dimensions of work-home interaction can be distinguished, namely 1) negative work-home interference (WHI), which refers to a situation in which negative load reactions that build up at work hamper a person’s functioning at home; 2) positive WHI, defined as positive load reactions built up at work that facilitate functioning at home; 3) negative home-work interference (HWI), referring to negative load reactions developed at home that fetter a person’s functioning at work; and 4) positive HWI, occurring when positive load reactions that develop at home facilitate functioning at…show more content…
According to the E-R model, effort disbursement (e.g. task performance at work) is related to specific load reactions, including physiological, behavioural and subjective responses (e.g. changes in hormone secretion, energy levels and mood) that build up in the individual. Typically, these load reactions are reversible if recovery occurs after the effort had been invested and time had been taken for the psychobiological systems to stabilise. This shows that high demands from the one domain will not have unfavourable health consequences on the other domain, as long as adequate recovery takes place during or after these periods. However, when individuals do not recover fully from previous effort investments (in the job and/or home setting), they are required, while still in a sub-optimal state, to invest a compensatory effort to perform adequately when confronted with new demands in the work or home domain. If there is no time for recovery to take place and negative load reactions develop (such as strain and short-term psychosomatic health complaints), these may spill over into the other domain. In such circumstances, functional systems are not given a chance to stabilise at a baseline level, but are activated again. The increased

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