Women managers & professionals: work-family conflict & job satisfaction.

AuthorBaral, Rupashree

This study examines the consequences of both work-to-family conflict (WFC) and family-to-work conflict (FWC) among a sample of managerial and professional women in India. Data were collected from 224 women, working fulltime in diverse organizations using anonymously completed survey questionnaires. The respondents indicated relatively low level of FWC compared to WFC. WFC had a negative correlation with affective commitment and psychological well-being. FWC was found to be negatively correlated with family satisfaction and psychological well-being. Interestingly, both WFC and FWC did not show significant impact on job satisfaction.


Competing demands between work and home have assumed increased relevance in recent years for employees across the world due, in large part, to demographic, economic, technological and workplace changes. India is no exception. The changes are seen in terms of rising numbers of women in the workforce (Census of India, 2001; Human Development Report, 2010; Naqvi, 2011), more dual career couples (Rajadhyaksha & Bhatnagar, 2000) and nuclear families (Bharat, 2003), increase in customer centric services sector, and more sophisticated communications technology enabling continuous contact with the workplace and customers even after the work hours (Baral, 2009). These changes have placed immense pressure and time demands on men and women to strike the crucial balance between work and home. Women professionals are more prone to such pressures of striking a balance between work and home front since they have to take more family responsibilities compared to men irrespective of their working status (Aryee, Srinivas & Tan, 2005; Bharat, 2003; Chauhan, 2010; Naqvi, 2011). Managing and integrating work and family is considered as one of the major challenges facing managerial and professional women in achieving successful careers in organizations (Bharathi & Baral, 2012; Kaiser et al., 2011; Koyuncu, Burke & Wolpin, 2012).

Engagement in multiple roles such as work and family roles has been found to have many positive implications (e.g. enhanced skills, mood, well-being and morale) (Balmforth & Gardner, 2006; Bhargava & Baral, 2011). However, the negative side of engagement in multiple roles cannot be discounted. The results of a variety of studies, conducted across different countries, cultures and occupations have demonstrated that a high level of work-family conflict may have detrimental consequences for employees as well as the organization (for a review, see Allen, Herst, Bruck & Sutton, 2000). Specifically, research has shown that work-family conflict is related to increased turnover intentions and reduced job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and family satisfaction (Aryee et al., 2005; Balmforth & Gardner, 2006; Beutell, 2010; Karatepe & Kilic, 2007; Kinnunen, Feldt, Mauno & Rantanen, 2010; Koyuncu et al., 2012; Kossek & Ozeki, 1998; Rathi & Barath, 2013). The harmful consequences of work-family conflict have been exten sively investigated among employees representing a variety of occupations. Nevertheless, the influence of work-family conflict on various individual and organizational outcomes among women in managerial and professional roles remains relatively underexplored, particularly in the Indian context. Juggling between the two most important roles i.e., work and family has been particularly challenging for women managers and professionals. Many women "opt out" of their career because of family concerns (Hewlett, 2002). This is a very common phenomenon particularly in traditional cultures such as India where the burden of raising a family and kids is still the responsibility of the female partner, irrespective of her career or working status. Given this background, the aim of this study is to examine the consequences of work-family conflict among managerial and professional women at work.

Work-Family Conflict

"Work-family conflict" is "a form of inter-role conflict in which the role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respect" (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985:77). It is typically characterized in the literature by time-based, strain-based and behavior- based conflicts. Research has established two directions of work-family conflict: work-to-family conflict (WFC), in which work activities hinder performance at family or other non-work roles, and family-to-work conflict (FWC), in which life-role responsibilities thwart performance at work (Frone, Russell & Cooper, 1992; Netemeyer, Boles & McMurrian, 1996). Typically, the specific antecedents of the WFC lie in the work domain whereas the antecedents of the FWC lie within the family domain (Byron, 2005; Fu & Shaffer, 2001). In terms of outcomes of work-family conflict, WFC mainly impairs job-specific well-being, whereas FWC mainly impairs family-specific well-being (Allen et al., 2000). Cross-domain relations are typically weaker (for a review, see Ford, Heinen & Langkamer, 2007).

Women in Management in India

The Grant Thornton's International Business Report (IBR) (2013) suggests that although there is an increase of women managers in senior level positions in India, the proportion is significantly low at 19 per cent as opposed to a global 35 per cent. Moreover, 49 per cent of Indian businesses currently offer flexible working options to women at the work place, as opposed to a global average of 67 per cent. This shows that women continue to be underrepresented at more senior levels of management despite their increasing entry into managerial and professional jobs. Several factors have been found to account for this under representation, an important one being women's responsibilities for home and family functioning, often resulting in work-family conflict. However, because of higher levels of literacy among women, and greater initiatives taken by organizations to promote gender diversity and equality, more women are entering the workforce in India.

Recent changes in the demographic characteristics of the Indian workforce with more number of women in the workforce (Census of India, 2001; Naqvi, 2011) and increasing number of nuclear as well as dual career families (Bharat, 2003; Komarraju, 1997), has resulted in an enhanced importance placed on issues of work-life balance by scholars, individuals and organizations alike. There are many studies on work-family conflict experiences of men and women in the Indian context (Aryee et al., 2005; Buddhapriya, 2009; Chauhan, 2010; Namasivayam & Zhao, 2007; Poster & Prasad, 2005; Rathi & Barat, 2013; Valk & Srinivasan, 2011). Flowever, it is very much pertinent to study the work-family conflict experiences of women and resulting outcomes since women continue to increasingly participate in managerial and professional workforce in recent years. Social changes and economic development of India in the past few decades have offered many educational and employment opportunities for women similar to that of men (Naqvi, 2011). Higher literacy rates among women, greater awareness of gender-role equality, increasing number of organizations in gender-neutral industries such as IT, ITES, and corporations' diversity and inclusiveness policies are the factors that have positively influenced the increasing participation of women in the workforce.

Modernization, social changes and emphasis on education have enabled women to enter new' professions and occupations; and such a change has also led to the emergence of new social attitudes towards educated women (Ghosh & Roy, 1997).Indians, being part of a collectivist culture, give high priority to their family and social responsibilities (Hofstede, 2001), since family and social relationships occupy a central position in their life. In India, gender role socialization is more prominent (Bharat, 2003; Naqvi, 2011; Rajadhyaksha & Smita, 2004). Moreover, Indian women take larger part in familial responsibilities irrespective of their working status (Aryee et al., 2005). While balancing their work and family roles, women tend to assign greater priorities to and spend more time on their family responsibilities, independent of their work demands (Aditya & Sen, 1993; Aryee et al., 2005; Desai, 1996; Narayana, 1982).

Recently, particularly in urban India, there has been noticed an attitude change towards participation of women in the work force and...

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