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WORK FAMILY CONFLICT, OCCUPATIONAL STRESS AND LIFE SATISFACTION AMONG MARRIED CAREER WOMEN

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WORK FAMILY CONFLICT, OCCUPATIONAL STRESS AND LIFE SATISFACTION AMONG MARRIED CAREER WOMEN

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

There has been a growing scholarly interest in the gendered nature career which has furthered our understanding of the career trends among married women (Tlaiss and Kauser 2011; Broadbridge 2007; Simpson et al, 2010). This study has called for the adoption of human resource management best practices which inspire gender inclusiveness and greater diversity within the work milieu. Consequently, over the last three decades, there has been a measured rise in the numbers of highly skilled female professionals and managers across different industries, which has led to a gradual re-configuration of the top management positions from male towards female (Ismail and Ibrahim 2007). However, available statistics reveals a high level of disparity in levels of gender diversity at top management positions in Nigeria. For instance, in the Nigerian Federal Civil Service, which is the largest employer of labour in Nigeria, 76% of civil servants are men, and 24% are women with women holding less than 14% of the total management level positions in the Nigerian public sector (Goldstar, 2005/2006)

In Ekiti state, Nigeria’s largest commercial hub, private sector involvement of women as directors and top management were 13.87% and 13.84% respectively in 2005, while 8.14% and 13.11% were recorded for women directors and top managers respectively in 2006, representing a slight decline of their involvement in the succeeding year (Goldstar, 2006/07). We explore the barriers to career progress of females in acquiring top management positions and the nature of married career women barriers experienced within the Nigerian context due to the combination of work family conflict, perceived stress and satisfaction of life in attaining a meaningful coexistence within the work place and the interplay of the family roles. There are several issues surrounding married career women as managers in Nigerian organizations and the perceptions of these managers regarding gender stereotyping in terms of their personal aspirations regarding careers, mentoring, education, marriage, and having children. It would be interesting to understand how these factors impact on their career progression.

Work is a central part of almost everyone’s life. Most adults devote weekdays to work (Landy & Conte, 2004) as career development makes up almost 70% of all human developmental tasks. Workers in the public sector are experiencing substantial transformation in organizations via organizational as well as career changes which affects the long-term relationship and psychological contract between organizations and coworkers. According to Hall and Mirvis (1996) and Callanan (2003), the psychological contract which embodies perceptions and beliefs regarding the reciprocal obligations that exist between employers and employees has shifted from relational to transactional. In this realm, our traditional understanding of careers as a linear career path or as a series of upward progression, followed by increasing income status, security within a functional area and often within a single organization (Capelli, 1992; Eddleston, 2004) has shifted to lateral and horizontal movement. According to Ackah and Heaton (2004), these new paradigms of careers can provide wider alternatives, positions and experience in order to fulfill the personal needs as well as intrinsic satisfaction of employees among married career women. Accordingly, these structural and social transitions have influenced many aspects of managers’ and workers’ career behaviors, one of which is life satisfaction (Baruch, 2004).

Perceived satisfaction on the job is reflected by the needs of sense of fulfillment and expectation for the job to be interesting, challenging and personally satisfying (Smither, 1994). Job satisfaction is also an achievement indicator in career developmental tasks (Sidek, 2002) and is associated with the psychological (Limbert, 2004) and individual well-being (Nassab, 2008). Low job satisfaction can be an important indicator of counterproductive employee behavior and can result in behavior such as absenteeism (Spector, 1985; Martin & Miller, 1986) and turnover intentions (Spector, 1985; Dupré & Day, 2007). Job satisfaction can also partially mediate the relationship of psychosocial work factors to deviant work behaviours. Therefore, maintaining and enhancing job satisfaction is important in order to establish quality worker, workplace and work itself (Bokti & Talib, 2009).

However, life satisfaction is an overall assessment of feelings and attitudes about one’s life at a particular point of time. According to Diener (1984) life satisfaction refers to the overall cognitive judgemental aspects of subjective wellbeing and is likely to influence to everything around us. It is frequently included as an outcome or consequence variable in work-family research (Allen, Herstm, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000). The study of Cramer (1995) suggested that the type of job we hold could have a major impact on life satisfaction and job satisfaction brings life satisfaction. Bruke, Ronald & Mamo (1999) found that personal and situational factors were generally unrelated to self-reported life satisfaction. However work experiences and work outcomes were consistently and strongly related to self-reported life satisfaction. Studies also showed managerial and professional women reported more positive work experience and more favourable work outcomes also reported greater life satisfaction.

It appears that the withdrawal syndrome observable among Nigerian Civil savant is psycho-personological in nature where employee life satisfaction contends with occupational stress and work-family conflict. This factors stood so strong that workers begins to exhibit counterproductive employee behavior such as absenteeism, intention to quit, social loafing, employee incongruence which has retrogressive impact on organizational productivity. Family work conflict influences employee satisfaction with life. With employees appears to grapple with balancing their commitment between work and family without having role-conflict or valuing one above the other. The increased understanding the work-family interface stems from the demonstrated outcomes of work-family conflict on role and life satisfaction.

Life satisfaction was conceptualized as deriving from satisfaction through having a good job and family life (Sekaran 1983). Some prior evidence supports the relationship between work-family conflict, job and family satisfaction, and life satisfaction. Several studies have found negative relationships between inter-role conflict and job satisfaction Uones and Butler 1980; Pleck et al. 1980; Staines and O'Connor 1980; Kopelman et al. 1983; Sekaran 1985; Greenhaus and Parasuraman 1986; Parasuraman et al. 1989; Mohamed Hashim 1993). Work-family conflict was also found negatively related to family satisfaction (Pleck et al.1980; Staines and O'Connor 1980; Greenhaus and Kopelman 1981; Jones and Butler 1980; Parasuraman et al. 1989; Aryee 1992). Several earlier researchers have found a positive relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Bamundo and Kopelman 1980; Rice et al. 1980; Sekaran 1985; Burke and McKeen 1988; Rice et al. 1992), and between family satisfaction and life satisfaction (Campbell et al. 1976; Lee 1978; Kopelman et al. 1983; Riceetal.1992). The model of work-family conflict proposed by Kopelman et al. (1983) was chosen as the theoretical base for this research. This model presents a nomological network among work conflict, family conflict, work-family conflict (which Kopelman called interrole conflict), and job, family and life satisfaction (Ahmad, 1996).

            The conceptualization of the termed work-family conflict is a bit confusing. Work-to-family conflict occurs when experiences at work interfere with family life like extensive, irregular or inflexible work hours, work overload and other forms of job stress, interpersonal conflict at work, extensive travel, career transitions, unsupportive supervisors or organization. For example, an unexpected meeting late in the day may prevent a parent from picking up his or her child from school. Family to work-conflict occurs when experiences in the family interfere with work life like presence of young children, primary responsibility for children, elder care responsibilities, interpersonal conflict within the family unit, unsupportive family members. For example, a parent may take time off from work in order to take care of a sick child (Hasnain, Ansari, Ali & Sharma, 2012). Although these two forms of conflict i.e., work interference with family and family interference with work are strongly correlated with each other, yet more attention has been directed at work interference with family more than family interference with work.

Both work and family claim time and energy, work is an important source of income, financial security and status in the society. Family functions as a nucleus, where two partners find intimacy, support and raise their offspring, the two were not independent (Kanter, 1977; Hasnain et al., 2012). A home where one of the spouse is a workaholic there will be spillover from work time to home time and thereby will not have time to be with spouse and children which can gradually break the home to two separate set. When there is strain on relationship due to a partner’s workaholism, both partners can become stressed and less supportive of one another resulting in negative behavior (Hasnain et al., 2012). In a study enthusiastic workaholics were found to have significantly more life satisfaction and purpose in life than non enthusiastic workaholics (Bonebright, Cynthia, Clay, Daniel, Ankenmann & Robert, 2000). Zhao and Qu (2009) found that work interfering with family had negative effects on job satisfaction but not life satisfaction, whereas, family interfering with work had negative effects on life satisfaction rather than job satisfaction. The higher the level of work-family conflict, the lower the level of life satisfaction (Kossek & Ozeki, 1998).

A job that appears to be stressful to employees and have a resultant effect on their wellbeing. Milliken and Dunn-Jensen (2005) posit that schedules and work contracts have left workers with intensification of work and less time for private and social life (Sparks, Faragher and Cooper, 2001). Leka, Griffiths and Cox (2004) refer to occupational stress as “the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope”. It originates from organizational aspects such as long work hours, lack of organizational support and organizational change (Davey, Obst, & Sheehan, 2001), lack of support from supervisors and colleagues, and conflict with demands and pressures (Leka, et al., 2004). Occupational stress is recognized as major problems for both employees and organizations. For employees, stress frequently contributes to the risk of accidents, burn-out and illnesses like coronary heart disease, hyper-tension and severe depression (Sutherland & Cooper, 1988). For organizations, stress-related problems result in low job satisfaction, poor quality of performance, increased absence from work and high turnover (Motowidlo, Packard & Manning, 1986). Besides, Akinboye, Akinboye and Adeyemo (2002) describe job stress as that detrimental emotional and physical response that arise when job demands are inconsistent with the resources and needs of the worker. Part of what serves as the main stimulators of occupational stress for educational administrators occurred in the work environment (Swent & Gmelch, 1977). In recent times, many of the most stressful events can said to be related to the workplace: firings, changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, variations in work hours or conditions, etc (Mutiu, 2012).

Reaction based definitions like Akinboye et, al. (2002) see stress as a person’s  psychological or physiological response to environmental factors, in which stress is seen as both the stimulus (stressor) and the response (strain). Based on this perspective, stress often happens when the demands of a particular experience is about to exceed the resources available, thus, resulting to change in the person's psychological and physiological condition in order to deal with with the experience (Cooper, Dewe, and O' Driscoll, 2001). So, a stressful situation occurs when a person exert an impact on and responds to his/her environment (Siu, 2002). Schjoedt (2009) found that job stress fully mediates the relationship between work-family and job satisfaction. Ahmad, Baba, & Hassan (1999) identified work-family conflict as one of the major stressors in the work place leading to various negative outcomes, including impaired wellbeing. Demerouti, Bakker, Schaufeli (2001) found in a spill over research that crossover path from females’ exhaustion to males’ exhaustion, from males’ life satisfaction to their partners’ life satisfaction showed not only job related strain, but also positive context free well-being may crossover among partners. A Pan-EU study (European Commission, 2006) found that when people are satisfied with their jobs, they are satisfied with their non-work-related life and become happier. Paschali and Tsitsas (2010) found that students who have low anxiety scores have more life satisfaction. Several studies found that the poor health status among elderly African-Americans is related to increased psychological distress and lower levels of life satisfaction (Broman, 1997; Tran, Wright, & Chatters, 1991).

However, recent observation reveals that present scenario the women folk fastly entering the different works and jobs outside of the house- walls has broken the old myth of men as working spouse on one hand, and on the other women doing different works and jobs have brought them double roles to play making them burdened along with household works. In a nut shell, the above discussions show that interference from work to family and vice-versa has consequential relations with occupational stress and life satisfaction which is the focus of this study.

1.2       Statement of Problem

Stress is a problem that cannot be overlooked. Stress has negative effect on individuals and on employee productivity in any organization (Adeoye, 2009). Consequently, stress affects the individual), his or her family, the community and the nation at large. Available research evidence clearly shows that dual career women encounter stress in their attempt to fulfils home and out-of-home demands, (Adeoye and Durosaro, 2003). Although, the stress experience is not peculiarly limited to career married women, the latter seems to be more affected because of their dual roles as wives and mothers on one hand, and employees on another. The home-work interface stress therefore seems to particularly affect women. If women are considered important in nation building even at this stage of Nigeria’s development, then issues such as stress among career married women should be investigated.

Observation reveals that civil service is paraded with absenteeism, intention to quit, social loafing, employee incongruence as report shows that 20% of the unemployed candidate sitting for aptitude test and interview are civil servants. This is enough evidence to note that increment in salary, incentives, promotion, recognition and other factors built in to the models of retaining and keeping potential workers may not be strong enough. If the organisation will not take a step further see if worker are truly balancing work and family role and if they are adequately fitting in the increased organizational demands and characteristics. This fact activated the interest of this studying in investigating the influence of work-family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction among married career women in Nigerian society.

1.3              Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to contribute to knowledge and provide empirical evidence on the influence of Work Family Conflict, Occupational Stress and Life Satisfaction among married Career Women in Ado Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state. However, the study thus:

·         investigate the relationship that exists among the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti state?

·         determine the combined contributions of the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti state?

·         to investigate the relative contributions the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti state?

·         to observed if there is any significant difference among married career women servants in selected universities on the basis of educational qualifications?

·         to observed if there is any significant difference among married career women servant and the their years of experience in service?

1.4              Significance of the Study

A clear understanding of life satisfaction determinants among civil servants might help in the recommendation of an appropriate psycho-educational intervention that can assist in the development and improvement on the well being married career women among the civil servants through policy implementation especially in Nigerian cities. This study will further shed more light to this critical public interest by expanding views on the influence of occupational stress and work-family conflict on their life satisfaction via publishing of the outcome in this research.

This study is highly essential due to the fact that data collected in this study will provide adequate scientific and technical information on the psychosocial predictor of wellbeing among civil savants which has capacity for learning and it may suggest how to improve and appropriate research-based psycho-therapeutic intervention resources to generally improve the coping and reduce the risk of a life dissatisfaction in working as a civil servants.

In addition, clinical psychologists, and personnel will benefit from the results of this study which can inform them on how to design better and effective training programs for civil servants. Hence, findings of this study will contribute to knowledge in this area and expand literature. The entire Nigerian local government communities have not been immune from the emerging forces of stress in the country. Despite the nation’s declaration of the importance of University education in national technological developments and the role it plays in satisfying manpower needs, there seems to be growing evidence that there are really no private, states or local government area that will genuinely claim to enjoy the basic facilities and resources.

            Local government council area has traditionally been regarded as a low stress occupation among the married career women. Although not highly paid, academics have been envied because they enjoyed tenure, light work load, flexibility and the freedom to pursue their own research interests (career). Local government council has enjoy so many of these advantages that seems to have been eroded in Nigerian civil service setting. More importantly, the present government had a lot of favour towards the empowerment of married career women which one of the core benefits of holding up to a profession despites its crisis and stress faced in the course

of executing such an assignment to the nation.

1.5              Scope of the Study

This research work covers; the influence of work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction among married career women in Ado Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state.

1.6       Operational Definition of Terms

            The following terms are define operationally as it was used in the study

Married Career Women:  It referred to a recognized adult female worker who is married and highly committed to an organization where she performs her daily duties.

Life Satisfaction: Is defined as an overall assessment of feelings and attitudes about one’s life at a particular point of time or it refers to the overall cognitive judgemental aspects of subjective wellbeing and is likely to influence to everything around us.

Occupational Stress: Is referred to as a chronic disease caused by conditions in the workplace that negatively affects an individual’s performance and/or overall wellbeing of his/her body and mind. French (1974) defined occupational stress as the characteristics of the job that pose a threat to the individual, and occupational strain as the deviation from a normal response that an individual would experience in any situation.

Work-family Conflict: Is referred to as a form of inter-role conflict in which the role demands stemming from one domain (work or family) are incompatible with role demands stemming from another domain (family or work).

Years of experience: Is referred to as numbers of years spent in a specific career, occupation or job description. The norm for this is the mean of scores and its standard deviation. It was included in the section A part of the measuring question used in this study.

Level of education Completed: Is referred to as the highest qualification the participants have obtained in their area of specialization.

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