Factors influencing work-life balance of women educators: a case study.

AuthorLakkoju, Srinivas
PositionCase study - Statistical data

This paper examines the issues associated with the work-life balance of women faculty members in an autonomous engineering college. The work, using various statistical techniques (anova, t-tests, correlation and regression), conducts two types of analyses viz. basic, which deals with the analysis of WLB issues; and composite, which deals with the evaluation of predicted antecedents and consequence of WLB. The study also identifies that the WLB of 'married without children' respondents is inferior to that of 'unmarried' respondents.

Introduction

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work"--Aristotle

The concept of work-life balance (WLB) symbolizes the conditions reigning in the workplace of an organization that assist its employees reach a symmetry between the conflicting demands of their workplace and family lives. Yet, WLB is not about working less, it's rather about working 'smart', so that individuals energize themselves and give everything that needs for both work and home, without jeopardizing one for the other (Grosen, 2005). Most working people struggle to successfully balance their work and life domains. A recent survey reports that seven out of ten American workers struggle to reach an acceptable balance between workplace and family life (Kelly et al., 2014). This is invariably true for working women who accept to fulfil more obligations than men, particularly along their personal front.

In most societies, work-life conflict seems to be quite high in the case of working women as they do most of the work associated with the household activities, apart from taking care of children, older family members, and other dependents (Sanghamitra, 2009). Furthermore, the working environment at colleges of higher education has become very complex nowadays, as teachers suffer heavy workloads in comparison to their salaries. As the pressure of work is insurmountable even in academics, women faculty members find it extremely difficult to discharge the myriad dimensions of work and life effectively (Leena & Sudhir, 2012). Even Harvard University is of no exception in this regard. The Sociology Professor Michele Lamont says "life is a constant 'dance' for faculty who are women and have families to fulfill Harvard's expectations for its faculty and still care for their families" (Aspelund & Bernhard, 2015). Hence, without the presence of a wide-ranging support, working women predominantly those in teaching jobs cannot achieve WLB.

It is also true that an individual's work-life balance varies eventually. At different stages of career and age, different factors become significant. For instance, the right balance for an individual when he/she is single will be dissimilar from those when he/she gets married or when he/she is approaching retirement. The right balance is also different for different individuals. There is no one work-life balance that fits all because all of us have different priorities and different styles of life (Tanuja, 2009). In this background, the present work tries to critically analyze as to what extent certain factors influence WLB of women educators in different settings.

Objectives of the Study

i) To compare the work-life balance perceptions held by different groups of women faculty members working in the selected educational institution.

ii) To assess the impact of different factors on work-life balance of the respondents.

ii) To discuss the implications of the study.

Sample

The survey was conducted by administering a self designed questionnaire and semi-structured follow-up interviews, during 2012-2013 among all the 38 women faculty members present in both engineering and non-engineering departments of the autonomous engineering college in which the authors are working as faculty members. Faculty members with less than one year experience were not admitted to the study. The sample achieved for the study is 27 with a response rate of 71 per cent.

Reliability & Validity

The questionnaire (Appendix 1) responses were measured based on Likert's 5-point scale ranging from 'Strongly Agree-5' to 'Strongly Disagree-1'. Cronbach alpha reliability estimates (Table 1) indicate the existence of a high level of internal consistency between the statements concerning all the four variables analyzed. George and Mallery (2003:231) provide a thumb rule, i.e. "e--0.9 --excellent, e--0.8--good, e--0.7 acceptable, e--0.6--questionable, e-0.5 --poor, and d--0.5 unacceptable". Further, the low SEM and SEE indicate the high score precision, i.e. response stability. Besides, the visual output (Appendix 2) of ViSta (Young, 1996) Horn's Parallel Analysis (Horn, 1965) clarifies that all the four sub-scales are unidimensional.

Hypotheses

Aryee et al. (2005) observe that female professionals have a higher level of parental overload than men. Hence, women employees require more support from their families, management and fellow workers to balance the conflicting demands of their work and family roles and to happily engage with their workplace, maintain their effort levels and become more efficient. Deepak and Neena (2011) observe that Indian women professionals are looking for supportive workplaces that help them manage their multiple roles. Anja-Kristin & Laura (2011) discover that emotional family support has a positive impact on work-life balance satisfaction. Another study offers evidence, established on a randomized trial that workplace interventions, such as increased schedule control and supervisor support, can reduce employee work-life conflict (Kelly, et al., 2014). In this backdrop, the present study hypothesizes that:

i) H1--Support (SWLB) from management, family and colleagues has a positive impact on the WLB of women faculty members.

According to Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) work-family conflict represents the extent to which work and family roles are incompatible and...

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