In order to get a deeper understanding of the subject under discussion, it will be imperative that we make an attempt at defining what work-life conflict entails or is all about. Different schools of thought have defined work-life conflict in different ways, all of which intends at finding out its root causes. But for the purpose of this investigation we shall define work-life conflict as a situation where by the functions or duty of an employee in an organization in which he works interferes or hinders him from performing or attending to other areas of his life. This definition tends to portray a scenario where by the work and life activities affect each other. The implication of which is the inability of the individual involved to plan properly and as a result getting stressed up or becoming unproductive.
The many roles and functions that people bear in life impose tough demands that require adequate time allotment, energy, and commitment for successful completion. Specifically, the demands placed on people by work-related roles have not only dramatically changed in modern times, but continue to exert immeasurable pressure on employees to perform for purposes of securing their careers on a long-term basis so that the aims and objectives of the organization can be achieved. According to Higgins (n.d.), the demands of the modern economic environment are so much interlinked with employees’ professional and personal lives up to a point where it becomes almost impossible to draw a clear line between the two, hence leading to work-life conflict.
The above situation is thought to enhance stress levels and health complications or status among employees, lowering their productive capacities and increasing turnover and absenteeism which is contrary to the aims and goals of the employees been employed, which in no doubt result to conflict between work and life situations. These undesirable outcomes are also thought to impact an organization’s profitability capacities, but on the other hand impose more hazards on the employees. It is against this backdrop that this particular project aims to investigate the influence of work-life conflict on employee performance and organizational productive capacities.
Means of quantifying work-life conflict
In order to strike a balance and to avoid grudges between employees and the organization relating to work-life conflict, some means or strategies have to be in place in view of quantifying the benefits or gains in which both the organization and the employees stands to get so as to avoid future questions about the situation and on the other hand bring work life conflict to the barest minimum. Various benefiting strategies has been found very useful, one of which is establishing a firm relationship between the workers and the management heads of the organization; since this will go a long way in enhancing their communication. Another strategy which is of greater importance is ensuring that no worker is overloaded. This is necessary because when workers are been given jobs beyond their powers, they force themselves doing this jobs in view of trying to maintain the goals of the organization, but on the long-run, this results into low quality productivity as a result of fatigue been imposed on the workers. Other factors also have to be put in place to complement worker’s seriousness to work such as making sure their overtime are adequately paid.
According to Cohen et al. (2007), “… an independent variable is an input variable, that which causes, in part or total, a particular outcome…A dependent variable, on the other hand, is the outcome variable, that which is caused, in total or in part, by the input” (p. 504). Based on this definition, As such, the present project aims to test the relationship between work-life conflict and two dependent variables: employee performance and organizational productivity. According to Sekaran (2006), one dependent variable may be used to test the strength of another dependent variable or to map out the chain of interrelationships in cases where the researcher is faced with multiple dependent variables.
Since this project utilizes a quantitative research design, the influence of the independent variable on the dependent variables will be tested through manipulating the independent variable. Here, comparisons will be made on organizations that have put in place comprehensive work-life balance programs and other organizations that do not implement such programs, hence leading to work-life conflict. When the independent variable is manipulated by comparing the two sets of organizations, the measured outcomes in terms of underlying issues affecting employee performance and organizational productivity will become clear. This type of procedure best suits descriptive studies where the subjects are only measured once (Cohen et al, 2007).
Alternatively, the independent variable can be manipulated by first evaluating the status of employee performance and organizational productivity in an organization that does not implement work-life balance programs. Afterwards, the researcher may attempt to introduce some work-life balance initiatives in an attempt to manipulate the independent variable, which is work-life conflict. A relationship will be confirmed if the dependent variables of employee performance and organizational commitment start to alter, either negatively or positively. According to Sekaran (2006), this procedure usually takes a lot of time and is, therefore preferred when the researcher is interested in longitudinal analysis.
H1: There exists a positive correlation between employee stress and burnout levels arising from work-related responsibilities.
H2: Work-life balance programs are positively correlated with enhanced employee productivity and commitment.
Employees, in spite of their gender, have responsibilities, requirements, and personal lives outside of the workday. However, the volatile and dynamic economic environment coupled with shifting work demands have taken a toll on employees by necessitating them to become more involved in their paid employment than was previously the case (Nadeem & Abbas, 2009). The long working hours and high work demands that are characteristic of today’s labor market have not only increased work-related stress and burnout levels on the part of employees, but have also made it tremendously difficult for employees to maintain adequate balance between their work responsibilities and family-related commitments, resulting in work-life conflict.
Higgins et al (n.d.) defines work-life conflict “…as a form of inter-role conflict in which work and family demands are mutually incompatible so that meeting demands in one domain makes it difficult to meet demands in the other” (p. 9). This result in tensions and stress due incompatible expectations, with available evidence pointing to the fact that employees suffer from a myriad of negative psychological, mental, and physical problems due to this form of role conflict and interference.
Of particular relevance to this particular project is that work-life conflict occasions a multiplicity of undesirable outcomes that affects employees differently depending on the coping strategies that have been put in place. Equally, work-life conflict affects the productive capacities of an organization. According to Kreiner et al (2009), the development of concern about the need to develop policies and frameworks aimed to curtail work-life conflict arises from a recognition that the requirements and needs of non-work responsibilities and commitments have enormously grown in proportion to the needs and demands of non-work roles (Ahemba, 1998).
Employees and organizations stand to gain immensely if efforts are purposely channeled to eliminate work-life conflict. A major study conducted in 2009 by Corporate Executive Board (CEB) revealed that absence of work-life conflict in work environments help employees feel more rested, motivated, and energized while discharging their roles, both at work and home (Kisilevitz & Bedington, 2009), not mentioning the fact that such an environment is known to enhance employee productivity, proficiency, fulfillment, and commitment to the ideals and objectives of the organization.
At the organizational level, consecutive studies by Cannan(2002) has linked the absence of work-life conflict to reduced employee absenteeism and turnover and to an improved image of the organization, heightened employee loyalty, and a host of other outcomes that enhance the organization’s opportunities to regain and retain competitive advantage. More importantly, work-life conflict has negative health implications to employees and a costly financial dimension to organizations (Joshi et al. 2002). There is, therefore, a strong case to oblige organizations to come up with proper strategies and frameworks that will curtail or completely eliminate work-life conflict among their workforce.
The connection that exists between the lives of workers in an organization in relation to other aspects of the workers life has been a subject of great concern in recent years. One basic aspect of this condition that the worker or employee in an organization may go through is the function or duty he has to perform in the organization or company and other areas of his personal life. Nadeem, et al (2009 ) observed that this work related and personal life activity conflict account for the stress experienced by most men or workers in or within the work force. In recent years, work life conflict has been evaluated in different perspective, all aimed at striking a balance or identifying the root causes of these conflicts experienced by workers (Bemjamin, 2002).
As a result of the consequence of work life conflict on organizational goals, most business or governmental organizations look for mediums through which to balance the life of its employees both within and outside the organization. This is aimed at better positioning the mindset of the workers in the organization and as a result maximizes the gain thereby boosting the organization’s productivity. Researches carried out in this field by various researchers’ reveals that, those organizations that render assistance in compacting work-life conflict tends to benefit greatly from their employees than allowing the menace of work-life conflict to persist. This on the other way round helps the organization to better achieve their goals since the workers are motivated by the giant strides of the organization. In as much as it seems work life conflicts cannot be totally eliminated from the life of workers in an organization, the situation can be minimized. This can be achieved through a deliberate attempt at applying some simple work life principles. One of the most important of such principles is the establishment of proper communication link between the leader in an organization and his subordinates. This create a friendly atmosphere between the workers and the organization, it also establishes an understanding between the boss and his workers. It is making it possible for the leader to assign task to his subordinate bearing in mind the individual challenges each worker is facing in his personal life.
Balancing work-life is not the sole task of the organization to assign work to suit its individual employee, but the workers no their part also have some task to perform in order to achieve this. This they can achieve by proper time planning, which covers family and every other aspect of the employees’ personal life. Since it has become very difficult for work-life conflict to be eliminated completely in the life of employees, researchers around the world are becoming increasingly interested in the finding out or identifying strategies that can be adopted in coping with the everyday work-life problems that are encountered by workers in organizations. Various roles have been outline to enable an organization and its employees cope with work life conflicts.Some of the coping strategies are aimed at bringing to the barest minimum every factor that is identified as a contributing factor to work-life conflict or better say every factor that brings about stress to an employee. Another important factor is to improve on the available resources that shields the individual in question from stress
Ahemba,V.(1998).Managing Work-Life Conflict.Abuja:Sanba.
Benjamin,S(2002).The Effect Of Work Life Conflict On Employee Performance.Jos:Nabem.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K.R.B. (2007). Research methods in education, 6th Ed. New York, NY: Routledge
Cannan,D.(2008).Work-Life Conflict And Industrial Productivity.Cairo:Selfas.
Higgins, C., Duxbury, L., & Lyons, S. (n.d.). Reducing work-life conflict: What works? What doesn’t?
Joshi, S., Leichne, J., Melanson, K., Pruna, C., Sager, N., Story, C. J., Williams, K. (2002). Work-life balance: A case of social responsibility or corporate advantage. Worklifebalance.com.
Kisilevitz, M., & Bedington, T. (2009). Managing work-life balance programs in a down economy. Benefits & Compensation Digest, 46(12), 30-34.
Kreiner, G. E., Hollensbe, E.C., & Sheep, M.L. (2009). Balancing boarders and bridges: Negotiating the work-home interface via boundary work tactics. Academy of Management Journal, 52(4), 704-730.
Nadeem, M.S., & Abbas, Q. (2009). The impact of work-life conflict on job satisfaction of employees in Pakistan. International Journal of Business Management, Vol. 4, No. 5. Web.