The role of personalistic variables in the experience of work-life interaction and its effect on employee work engagement

Lambrechts Van Zyl, Amanda (2013-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Employee engagement has become imperative for the long term sustainability and performance of organisations. In the current study, work-life interaction was hypothesized to have a direct effect on employee work engagement. Work-life balance, as a facet of work-life interaction, was defined in this study as having enough time to fulfil activities in both work and family contexts; maintaining a sense of equilibrium or harmony in life, having equal or balanced involvement, effort and time spent on various roles; as well as a balance between demands and resources in a person’s life, achieving a state of satisfaction in both employment and personal roles (De Cieri, Holmes, Abbott & Pettit, 2005; Hudson, 2005). Work-life balance has positive consequences for the employee in the form of higher levels of satisfaction and commitment, and improved personal health and wellbeing. For the organisation it is associated with improved recruitment and retention, improved employee productivity and performance, improved organisational performance and profitability, and increased work engagement. In the current study the overarching concept of work-life interaction was utilised to guide the empirical research. The study was motivated by the intention to clarify the antecedents of work-life interaction in a particular work environment in order to inform efforts aimed at promoting positive work-life interaction. Personalistic traits were anticipated to influence the relationship between organisational variables and work-life interaction. A literature review has led to a theoretical model to be utilised in investigating the determinants of work-life interaction and whether the nature of work-life interaction experienced enhances employee work engagement. The aim of the study was to determine whether a negative relationship exists between role conflict, work demands and work-life interaction and a positive relationship exists between work-family culture and work-life interaction. The research further aimed to establish whether specific personalistic variables such as conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, negative affectivity, positive affectivity and emotional intelligence influence the relationships between the organisational variables and work-life interaction. The observed inter-correlations show that the organisational variables are weakly to moderately correlated with most of the work-life dimensions. The results confirmed that there are negative correlations between role conflict, work demand and the positive forms of work-life interaction, and positive correlations between these two variables and the negative forms of work-life interaction. In contrast, work-home culture is positively related to the positive forms of work-life interaction, and negatively to the negative forms of work-life interaction. The moderated regression analyses found that only neuroticism and agreeableness had significant moderating effects on the relationship between work demand and work-life interaction, whilst a greater number of mediating effects were observed. An overview of the multiple regression analyses with the work-home interaction dimensions as dependent variables, found a significant difference between the amount of variance explained by the organisational variables and the additional variance explained by the personalistic variables in two analyses pertaining to positive work-home interaction and positive home-work interaction. The study has confirmed the role of organisational variables in the experience of work-life interaction and the positive role of the work-home culture of the organisation has been highlighted. The results provided limited support for the role of personalistic variables as moderators and more substantial support for its role as mediators of work-life interaction. The impact of positive affectivity was especially noticeable. The results further indicated that work engagement was significantly positively correlated with positive work-home interaction, negatively correlated with negative work-home interaction, and positively correlated with positive home-work interaction. These findings provide additional motivation to include selected personalistic variables in the selection process so that the likelihood of work engagement could be optimised through increased work-live balance. It further suggests focusing the attention of employees suffering from negative work-life interaction on their personal processing of the challenges experienced and their coping strategies The results indicated that the conceptualised theoretical model was seriously flawed and too simplistic and that it required serious reconsidering.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Werknemerbetrokkenheid het noodsaaklik geword vir die langtermyn volhoubaarheid en prestasie van organisasies. In die huidige studie is die hipotese gestel dat werk-lewe-interaksie werknemers se werksbetrokkenheid op ‘n direkte wyse bevorder. Werk-lewe-balans is in hierdie studie soos volg gedefinieer: Dit is om genoeg tyd te hê om aktiwiteite binne beide werk- en gesinsverband af te handel, deur ’n volgehoue sin van ekwilibrium of harmonie in die lewe te handhaaf, met gelyke of gebalanseerde betrokkenheid, insette en tyd gewy aan verskillende rolle, sowel as ’n balans tussen die eise en hulpbronne in ’n persoon se lewe, en die gevolglike bereiking van ’n vlak van bevrediging binne beide werk- en persoonlike rolle. (De Cieri, Holmes, Abbott & Pettit, 2005; Hudson, 2005). Werk-lewe-balans het ’n positiewe uitwerking op die werknemer, in die sin van hoër vlakke van werkstevredenheid en toewyding, en verbetering in persoonlike gesondheid en welstand. Vir die organisasie word dit geassosieer met verbeterde werwing en retensie van personeel, verbeterde werksproduktiwiteit en prestasie, verbeterde organisatoriese prestasie en winsgewendheid, en verhoogde werksbetrokkenheid. In die huidige studie is werk-lewe-interaksie as oorkoepelende konsep vir die doeleindes van die empiriese studie aanvaar. Die studie se oogmerk was om die aanleidende oorsake van die werk-lewe-interaksie in ’n bepaalde werksomgewing te identifiseer ten einde pogings te informeer wat gemik is op die bevordering van werk-lewe-balans. Die verwagting was dat persoonseienskappe die verhouding tussen organisatoriese veranderlikes en werk-lewe-interaksie sou beïnvloed. ’n Literatuuroorsig het gelei tot ’n teoretiese model wat gebruik is in ’n ondersoek na die determinante van werk-lewe-interaksie en die vraag of werk-lewe-balans werknemers se werksbetrokkenheid verhoog. Die doel van die studie was om vas te stel of daar ’n negatiewe verhouding is tussen rolkonflik, werkseise en werk-lewe-interaksie, en ’n positiewe verhouding tussen werk-lewe-kultuur en werk-lewe-interaksie. Die navorsingsprojek het verder beoog om te bepaal of spesifieke persoonsveranderlikes soos pligsgetrouheid, neurotisisme, aangenaamheid, negatiewe affektiwiteit, positiewe affektiwiteit en emosionele intelligensie die verhoudings tussen die onafhanklike veranderlikes en die afhanklike veranderlikes respektiewelik beinvloed. Die waargenome interkorrelasies het getoon dat die organisatoriese veranderlikes swak tot matig gekorreleer het met die meerderheid werk-lewe-interaksie veranderlikes en werknemerbetrokkenheid. Die resultate het bevestig dat daar negatiewe korrelasies was tussen rolkonflik, werkseise en die positiewe vorms van werk-lewe-interaksie, en positiewe korrelasies tussen hierdie twee veranderlikes en die negatiewe vorms van werk-lewe-interaksie. Daarteenoor is werk-lewe-kultuur positief verbind met positiewe vorms van werk-lewe-interaksie, sowel as werknemerbetrokkenheid, en negatief aan die negatiewe vorms van werk-lewe-interaksie. Die gemodereerde meervoudige regressie-ontledings het getoon dat slegs neurotisisme en inskiklikheid beduidend die verband tussen die organisatoriese veranderlikes en die werk-lewe-interaksie dimensies gemodereer het, terwyl daar ‘n groter getal bemiddelende effekte waargeneem is. In ’n oorsig van die meervoudige regressie-ontledings met die werk-lewe-interaksie dimensies as afhanklike veranderlikes, is ’n betekenisvolle verskil gevind in die variansie verklaar deur middel van die organisasie veranderlikes en die bykomende variansie wat deur die persoonsveranderlikes verklaar is. Die studie het die rol bevestig van organisatoriese veranderlikes in die ervaring van werk-lewe-interaksie; en die positiewe rol van die werk-lewe-kultuur van die organisasie is uitgelig. Die resultate het beperkte steun verleen aan die rol van persoonsveranderlikes as moderators van die verband tussen organisatoriese veranderlikes en werk-lewe-interaksie, maar meer substansiële steun aan persoonsveranderlikes as mediators van hierdie verband. Die impak van positiewe affektiwiteit was veral opmerklik. Die huidige bevindinge het getoon dat werknemer betrokkenheid beduidend positief korreleer het met positiewe werk-huis-interaksie, negatief gekorreleer het met negatiewe werk-huis-interaksie, en positief gekorreleer het met positiewe huis-werk-interaksie. Hierdie bevindinge verskaf bykomende motivering om geselekteerde persoonsveranderlikes in die seleksieproses in te sluit, sodat die waarskynlikheid van werknemerbetrokkenheid geoptimaliseer kan word deur verhoogde werk-lewe-balans. Dit dui verder ook daarop dat die aandag van werknemers wat negatiewe werk-lewe-steurings ervaar, gefokus moet word op hul persoonlike verwerking van die uitdagings wat hulle in die gesig staar en hul hanteringstrategieë. Die resultate het aangetoon dat die gekonseptualiseerde teoretiese model ernstig gebrekkig en simplisties was en dat ernstige herbesinning daaromtrent nodig is.

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