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Work-family conflict: An exploration of the differential effects of a dependent child's age on working parents.

Darcy, Colette and McCarthy, Alma (2007) Work-family conflict: An exploration of the differential effects of a dependent child's age on working parents. Journal of European Industrial Training, 31 (7). pp. 530-549. ISSN 0309-0590

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Purpose – The purpose of this article is to explore the impact of life cycle stage, specifically parenting stage, on work-family conflict among working parents to determine whether discernible differences are evident among those individuals at the early stage of their parenting cycle compared with those with older children.

Design/methodology/approach – An explorative study was undertaken among parents employed within the Irish hotel sector. The questionnaire was distributed to 22 hotels and 76 individuals who reported having children responded. A number of measures were used to assess the impact which a number of factors, namely job stress, job involvement, managerial support and colleague support, may have on working parents' work-life conflict. Correlation and regression analysis are performed to test the hypotheses proposed.

Findings – The research findings provide initial support for the possibility that the factors influencing work-family conflict differ for each of the parenting groups analysed. For all parents with dependent children it was found that job involvement, job stress and colleague support all have predictive powers in terms of explaining the antecedents of work-family conflict.

Research limitations/implications – The findings provide a compelling case for the need to begin to address work-family conflict in a more holistic manner, examining both the immediate and long-term consequences for employees with childcare responsibilities.

Practical implications – The ability to design and implement specific, targeted responses to employees' work-life needs is an area where HRD can make a real and significant contribution. Strategic HRD has the potential to reduce the misappropriation of organisational resources by ensuring a focused and targeted response, thereby minimising the fruitless pursuit of “one size fits all” approaches to this complex issue.

Originality/value – The paper seeks to lay the first key foundation-stones in framing the debate in relation to work-life balance in terms of the entire working lives of individuals and not just specific snapshots during the course of that employment. The paper is critical of current organisational thinking in relation to employees' work-life balance needs and challenges HRD professionals to begin to examine this important and complex issue in a more holistic manner.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Quality of Work Life / Job Satisfaction
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Timothy Lawless
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2014 14:43
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2014 08:28

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