Construct Validation & Assessment of Work-family Balance among Indian Journalists.

AuthorKang, Lakhwinder Singh


The two most important constituents of an individual's life, i.e. 'work' and 'family' have undergone significant changes over the last two decades. This has happened due to globalization, unprecedented technological advancements, irregular work schedules, increasing participation of women in the workforce, changing gender roles and rise of nuclear families. Over the years, it has become a challenge for every individual to maintain a balance between work and family. As a consequence, the term 'work-family balance' has generated considerable interest among researchers and organizations, who are designing policies and interventions to facilitate the employees achieve desired balance between their work and family roles. The research has established that maintaining work-family balance significantly affects various individual and organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover intentions and family satisfaction (Frone, 2003; Wayne et al., 2004; Aryee et al., 2005; Lu et al., 2009; Mc Nall et al., 2010).

Traditionally, work-family balance was defined as an 'absence of work-family conflict' (e.g., Guest, 2002). The paradigm of 'work-family conflict' is conceptualized as the consequence of 'resources being lost in the process of juggling both work and family roles' (Grandey & Cropanzano, 1999). However, recent convoy of researchers believed that conflicts inherent in managing work and family roles have been found to be co-existed by the social and psychological resources gained from participating in these roles, which is termed as 'work-family facilitation' (Carlson et al., 2006). Thus, by combining both the conflict and facilitation indicators, Frone (2003) suggested work-family balance in terms of fourfold taxonomy that includes two directions of a influence (work-to-family vs. family-to-work) and two types of effects (conflict vs. facilitation), such that conflict and facilitation can be bidirectional.

Literature substantiates that only handful of studies have examined bi-directional conflict and facilitation simultaneously and that too, by taking samples from western nations, with individualistic values (Grzywacz & Marks, 2000; Demerouti et al., 2004; Wayne et al., 2004; Innstrand et al., 2009; Gareis et al., 2009). However, it has been recently acknowledged that the perception and prevailing status of conflict and facilitation can vary across nations and cultures (Powell et al., 2009; Ollier-Malaterre & Foucreault, 2017). Therefore, by drawing a sample from a collectivist society like India, this study addresses the glaring underrepresentation of work-family balance studies from the non-western context. With one exception (Aryee et al., 2005), no study has been identified that captured the complete fourfold nature of work-family balance in the Indian context. Thus, the present study seems a prudent effort to be undertaken.

The present study has a threefold objective. First, it analyzes work-family balance in a specific context--journalism--which has hardly been studied by the work-family scholars. Researchers regarded journalism profession as unfriendly to family life as it induces its employees to work on holidays, travel at unpredictable hours in all weathers, get exposed to disasters, concentrate on content in noisy newsrooms and meet the daily targets (Reinardy, 2009; Monteiro et al., 2015). The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (2007) survey also revealed that stress has intensified in recent times among top and middle level positions in the print media due to the blurring boundary between work and home domains, long working hours and daily deadlines. Second, the study assesses the factorial validity of the fourfold work-family balance scale (Grzywacz & Marks, 2000) among the Indian journalists. Bhagat et al. (2016) recognized that individuals in non-Western culture experience stress and strains in a way that are likely to be similar as well as dissimilar to the patterns of such experience observed in the West. They noted that cross-cultural research findings are difficult to interpret when a measure does not possess construct equivalence. Construct equivalence is established when what is being measured has identical meaning in other cultures when it is put under investigation (McArthur, 2007). Therefore, testing such a scale in an Indian journalistic setting is necessary and albeit, important for the purpose of generalization. Third, the study assesses the level of prevalence of all four dimensions of work-family balance among Indian newspaper journalists. This will facilitate designing of HR interventions in response to the work-family conflict and facilitation experience of Indian journalists.

Theoretical Background

'Role strain' theory provides the underlying logic for understanding the process of work-family conflict. This theory posits that individual resources (e.g. time, energy, attention) are scarce, and when multiple roles are combined and role demands increase, resources to cope with increased demands are depleted leading to role-strain (Goode, 1960). Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) defined work-family conflict as 'an inter-role conflict where work and family roles are incompatible and seen as competing for an individual's resources in the form of time and energy'. On the other hand, 'role accumulation' theory provides the foundation for understanding the process of work-family facilitation. This theory posits that resources are renewable and engagement in multiple roles generate more resources for individuals, which might outweigh the difficulties associated with potential incompatible role pressures (Sieber 1974). Wayne et al., (2007) defined work-family facilitation as 'the extent to which an individual's engagement in one domain provides gains, which contribute to increased functioning of another life domain'. The 'gain of resources' can be in the form of skills and perspectives (e.g., social skills, coping skills); psychological resources (e.g., self-efficacy, optimism); social-capital resources (e.g., knowledge, information); flexibility (e.g., telecommuting); and material resources (e.g., income) (Greenhaus & Powell, 2006).

The application of resource depletion and accumulation processes to the work and family roles triggered bi-directional dimensions of work-family conflict and facilitation, which altogether characterize 'Work-family Balance' (WFB) (Frone, 2003; Aryee et al., 2005; Lu et al., 2009). More specifically, the four dimensions of WFB are: Work-to-family conflict (WFC), i.e. when resources spent at work hinders the performance of family responsibilities; Family-to-work conflict (FWC), i.e. when resources spent at family hinders the performance of work responsibilities; Work-to-family facilitation (WFF), i.e. when resources generated at work improves the performance of family responsibilities; and Family-to-work facilitation (FWF), i.e. when resources generated at family improves the performance of work responsibilities.

Work-family Balance Scale

The perusal of existing work-family literature reveals that there exists several measures of work-family conflict (Kopelman et al., 1983; Netemeyer et al., 1996; Curbow et al., 2003) and work-family facilitation (Carlson et al., 2006; Hanson et al., 2006), which captured their bi-directional nature. However, empirical investigation about the four dimensional work-family balance as a general measure has been scanty. Kirchmeyer (1993) attempted to develop a measure of the work-family/ (non-work) interface, but it focused only on one direction of the interface, i.e. from family/(non-work)-to-work. Later, Fisher (2002) developed a 21-item scale to assess work-family balance with three dimensions (work interference-with-personal life, personal life interference-with-work and work/ personal life facilitation). Yet, their scale did not make a distinction about the bidirectional nature of the facilitation component. The 16-item scale by Grzywacz and Marks (2000) probably is the only one, which explored the factor structure of all four dimensions of work-family spillover (i.e. work-to-family-negative and positive spillover and family-to-work-negative and...

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