Using data from a 2002 nationally representative survey of more than 2,600 American workers, sociology professor Scott Schieman and Ph.D. student Paul Glavin examined the impacts of schedule control and job autonomy on work-family role blurring. Role blurring is measured by how often employees bring work home and how often they receive work-related contact outside of normal working hours.
The study found the following:
- Having great schedule control - that is, having greater control over the start and finish times of work - is associated with more frequent work-family role blurring; this pattern is stronger among men;
- Having greater job autonomy is associated with more frequent work-family role blurring among both women and men;
- Men in autonomous jobs are more likely than women in similarly autonomous jobs to receive work-related contact outside of normal work hours;
- Among both genders, receiving work-related contact outside of normal work hours increases work-to-family conflict, but only among individuals who have less autonomy at work
Schieman adds the findings are important because researchers have established work-to-family conflict as a core stressor in peoples' lives.
"Conflict between work and family demands is strongly associated with unfavourable personal, health, social and organizational outcomes," he says.
Source: April Kemick
University of Toronto