Work Family Conflict Term Paper

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Work - Family Conflict

It has been the traditional division of labor between men and women that men would be the bread -earners of family and that women would cater to managing the household responsibilities as women have to take care of children. The work within the family was extended and decreased accordingly since it was an unpaid labor. But as developments took place women started to work outside their homes. As a result of both working parents the family and work conflict started to emerge. As a result the families of the present age are being affected by several responsibilities of work, family and community on individuals.

The conflict between work and family is due to the depression, stress and anxiety, which occur as a result of the divergent responsibilities. These divergent responsibilities make it extremely difficult in taking care of these responsibilities. Developmental Psychologists and work-family sociologists have conducted research on the employment of men and women separately. Management scholars have dealt with the study of outside employment on meeting family responsibilities. Several studies have been now conducted to study the influences of work on family and family on work. These studies conduct research on the basis that the ability of a family or individual is related to the resources which they have or do not have at their disposal.

The individual, where the individual lives, what values influence the individual are important factors, which promote towards the success or conflict in work, family and community relationships. Research has been conducted in the field of work-family conflict for a number of years. Initially studies on family and work were being conducted as being two separate areas of research. But later research has focused to be dealing with the interrelationship between family and work and between work and family. Based on quantitative survey research, present research aims to promote a relationship between work, family and community Important theorists in this area of study are Chow and Berheide who conducted their study in 1988, Voydanoff in 1988, Frone, Russell, and Cooper in 1992, Bronneberg in 1996, Hammer, Allen and Grigsby in 1997 and Frone, Yardley, and Markel in 1997. Based on quantitative studies theorists are of the opinion that work-family conflict arises due to specific historical circumstances. (Frone; Russell; Cooper, 1992).

When these historical circumstances are forged together they result in promoting work-family conflict. The historical circumstances would be in the nature of differences in culture, personal resources at hand, difference in conditions and environment of work. (Frone; Yardley; Markel; 1997) Research conducted in the field of Work-Family Conflict has brought out the understanding that conflict arises in the arena of work-family as a result of job satisfaction and had included part-time sample of huge quantity. Another area of research, which brought about a new approach to work-family conflict, was the research, which dealt with the level to which work brought about conflict in the family. Much current research has been occurring in the arena of work-family conflict. (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964). It is also the result of early research being held on the multiple roles of women. Conflict in the responsibilities of work and occurs when the demands of one aspect of responsibility becomes incompatible with the other aspect of responsibility. (Greenhaus; Beutell, 1985).

Theorists Berardo, Shehan, & Leslie conducted research in the field of work-family conflict by concentrating their study on career families. (Berardo; Shehan; Leslie, 1987) They emphasized by their research that women occupy a major share of the burden of running the household. Another group of theorists Biernat and Worthman by way of research conducted was able to make the conclusion that even in conditions where married professional women had higher career status when compared to their husbands, women still had to face inequalities since taking care of childcare and household duties was still the responsibility of women. This holds disadvantageous to women who have to perform duplicity of role. As a result since in spite of the progress made by women in their careers, family still occupies an important role in the lives of women. As a result of the increasing role of women in their career there causes the possibilities for an increase in the conflict of their roles within the family and in their careers. (Biernat; Worthman, 1991)

Recent research in the
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areas of work-family conflict has given equal importance to the influence of work on family and the influence of family on work. Theorists Frone, Russell, & Cooper, Netemeyer, Boles, & McMurrian, Greenhaus and Beutell, Yardley, and Markel, have emphasized that roles are bi-directional, which denotes that roles and responsibilities in work may interfere with the roles and responsibilities in family which leads to the work-to-family conflict. It can also be vice versa, which can be addressed as family-to-work conflict. (Frone; Russell; Cooper, 1992). Along with that these two types of conflict were being considered as being related to each other or as reciprocal in nature. (Frone, 1992). Theorists Greenhaus and Parasuraman having conducted research emphasized that as a result of family-work conflicts, there are several factors, which affect the well-being of individuals. (Greenhaus and Parasuraman, 1991) Research conducted by Etzion & Bailyn, Frone, Hammer, Allen, & Grigsby in 1997 have enabled to reach the conclusion that as a result of stress arising from the dual responsibilities of work and family result in Work-family conflict. (Etzion; Bailyn, 1994). Recent research provide the difference as to the level at which family life interferes with work which is the family-to-work conflict and where work interferes with family life which is the work-to-family conflict. The research in both these fields enable to understand that conflict occurs as a result of the multiplicity of roles performed by individuals as worker outside the family and as partner and parent in the family. (Etzion & Bailyn, 1994) (Frone, 1992)

According to Duxbury and Higgins, these roles pose the necessity of requiring time, energy and commitment of increasing demands of various roles of an individual in the family, as working outside the home and also activities relating to community give shape to two types of conflict. (Duxbury, Higgins, 1991) One is the conflict which result due the overload in responsibilities and another is due to conflicting demands in various roles at the same time, but in different places. In the first type of conflict there is the problem of scarcity of time for the individuals. Two theorists Greenhaus and Beutell consider these two types of role strain as predictors of strain-based and time-based work-family conflict (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). On the other hand Stone and Lero provides a broader definition of work-family conflict, which would be useful in our understanding of the concept.

The definition expands the concept of work-family conflict, which is the strain that an individual has too undergo when they have to perform several roles in the family in their careers, and their role in the community. According to them the conflict, which occurs from family and job, related responsibilities are due to the stress, which an individual has to undergo from work-related activities, stress occurring from family responsibilities and also the community related stress. This definition helps to provide an understanding of the relationship of the community towards paid work and to the family. This relates the matter of the roles of the people and of their support in their own communities in direct relationship to the issue of work-family conflict.

An important theorist in this field of research has proved that armed forces is an institution which makes the women who work in this institution to be in a strained position when it comes to discharging of their dual responsibilities of the family and that of their work. (Segal, 1989) Since the number of women is being increasingly placed in work places, which were traditionally considered to be the areas specifically placed for men, there has been increasing levels of conflict between the dual responsibilities of women as caterers to their work and household duties. There is no information on how military women reconcile the demands of family life with the extraordinary expectations of the professional soldier.

With regard to the roles of women in army, they have to lead a life of difficulty since they have to always be at alert to be able to respond to the duties of undergoing training and of having to work away from home for several days and for several hours of extended work. The women who are in the army even when are at home, they would have to immediately respond to the call of duty and report in case of emergencies, which would happen at unpredictable hours. (Vinokur, Pierce, & Buck, 1999). Thus it could be understood that women who are employed with the armed forces have difficulties and strains in discharging their responsibilities at home and at work.

Research being held in the field of Work-Family Conflict by theorists Thomas & Ganster, Duxbury & Higgins, Wiley, Etzion, Frone has resulted in…

Sources Used in Documents:


Frone, Michael R., Yardley, John K. And Markel, Karen S. 1997 Developing and testing an integrative model of the work-family interface. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50(2): 145-167.

Frone, M.R., Russell, M., & Cooper, M.L. (1992). Antecedents and outcomes of work-family conflict: Testing a model of the work-family interface. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 65-78.

Kahn, R.L., Wolfe, D.M., Quinn, R.P., Snoek, J.D., & Rosenthal, R.A. (1964). Organizational stress. New York: Wiley.

Greenhaus, J.H., & Beutell, N.J. (1985). Sources of conflict between work and family roles. Academy of Management review, 10, 76-88.

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