Development Of A Multi-Construct Framework For Assessing Work-Life Balance : Validation And Its Applicability In the Indian Context
Introduction Work-Life Balance is an area of interest to both researchers and organizations who strive to understand the various facets of work, life and work-life. For an individual and society today, balance is of paramount interest affected by the personality aspects, family aspects, support scenario, organizational culture and the existence of policies and their usage at the organizational level. The changing aspirations of individuals with time, across economies have made this a global issue . In India, the rapid urbanization in major cities and the manner in which individuals are embracing a 24*7 work environment, makes it crucial to understand Work-Life balance in a holistic and contextual manner. The efforts of the government and the organization along with the individual drive determines how the scales tilt in this strive for Work-Life balance. Literature Review The gamut of literature shows that Work-Life balance has been studied across countries and industries. Work-Life balance as an issue has been explored from both an organizational and individual perspective. The impact of demographic aspects like gender, age, education, marital status, family type, children and care taking responsibility have been delineated, along with personality aspects like leadership and motivation. Support has been delved into, both at family level and at organizational level; coupled with the impact of mentoring and networking. Researchers have worked towards understanding policies at the organizational level that help an individual attain Work-Life balance, along with individual philosophy and family culture. Work-Life balance attained by an individual is exhibited in their behavior towards their team and organization; the loyalty and commitment exhibited by them. It is evident in the satisfaction they experience and their positive attitude towards work. The positive impact on their families is also evident, in terms of the time they are able to spend with their family. While the literature looks at various aspects, the view is an isolated one and there is a need for a holistic and multi-construct understanding of Work-Life Balance. Research Objectives and Methodology The ensuing gaps from literature lead to the objectives of the study. The specific objectives of the study are: 1 To evolve and validate a multi-construct model of Work-Life Balance (WLB) in the Indian Context 2 To identify and relate organizational, individual and family factors affecting WLB. 3 To critically analyze the role of gender, organizational policies, self efficacy and organization type in understanding work-life issues 4. To suggest ways and means of mitigating WLB in the Indian context. The various variables in the study were identified and the information framework was put in place. The preliminary study and the pilot study helped to finalise the questionnaire for the main study. The questionnaire comprised of two sections: Part B: My Perceptions of My Home and Work. Random sampling, coupled with the snowballing technique was the sampling technique adopted. The questionnaires were mostly administered in a face to face format; and in some cases, it was done over email as the respondents found that more convenient. The total sample of the study was 426 respondents 248 from public organizations, 118 from private organizations and 60 from entrepreneurial organizations. The data thus collected was subjected to statistical analyses. Major Findings First part of the analysis was carried out to establish the validity and the reliability of the questionnaire. This was done through factor analysis and by calculating the Cronbach's alpha. The factors analysis shows that the explanatory factors that emerge significant are aspects of culture, leadership and support; along with motivation towards family and work; including aspects of mentoring and networking. The mediating factors that emerge important revolve around aspects of Work-Life issues and impact of conflict; awareness and benefit of organizational policies; the perception of policy usage and individual thought. The output factors that emerge with high scores are the team and organizational engagement, impact of organizational support on work and family; the perception of work, the satisfaction with job and career and the citizenship behaviour exhibited. To understand how different the groups, categorised by age, education, children, marital status, gender, family type, care taking responsibility and the organization type public, private and entrepreneurial, are on the factors; manova and t test was carried out. The groups emerge significantly different in terms of their understanding of organizational culture and involvement in networking. The way they view organizational support and the role of mentoring, how they view family support and responsibilities at home. How confident individuals feel about handling challenges and how satisfied they felt with their jobs and career, also differ between the groups. The next step in analysis involved understanding the experience of Work-Life balance and the individual impact of the explanatory, mediating and interaction factors on the various output factors of team and organizational engagement, the positive impact of policies on family, the perception of work, the job and career satisfaction experienced and the citizenship proactive behavior exhibited by the individual. Apriori models based on literature were developed and regression analysis was carried out. Many of the models emerged insignificant showing that Work as a phenomena cannot be understood through isolated factors. For this, a full model was developed with explanatory, mediating and interaction factors (explanatory*mediating) and their causal impact on the output factors was studied. It was seen that the model for team and organizational engagement emerged the strongest with the factors explaining 69% of the model. The results of the full model showed that different factors had major impacts on different output aspects. It was seen that organizational culture, self efficacy and family values and the motivation towards work, interacting with the existence and awareness of policies have the greatest impact on team and organizational engagement. The support seniors/boss, perceived stress and networking interacting with the usage effect of organizational policies have the greatest impact on organizational policy positive impact on family. Organizational culture, perceived stress and networking interacting with the existence and awareness of organizational factors have the greatest impact on work perception. Job and career satisfaction is impacted the most by the motivation towards work, organizational policy existence, awareness and benefit and organization focus leadership interacting with the usage effect of policies. Finally, it is seen that networking, perceived stress and support from seniors and boss interacting with perceived stress have the greatest impact on citizenship proactive behavior. We thus see that Work Life balance is a multi-dimensional phenomena and its' comprehensive understanding is attained through multiple constructs. Conclusion This study provides a holistic understanding of Work Life Balance and is understood by looking at aspects of organizational culture, leadership, motivation, networking, mentoring, and support factors at both the organizational and the family level. The mediating role of organizational policies their existence, awareness and benefit and the usage effects on an individual; along with the role of self efficacy and family values and individuals' perception of stress becomes important. The experience of Work Life balance is understood through various behaviors exhibited team and organizational engagement shown by the individual, the positive impact of policies on family, the perception of work, the job and career satisfaction experienced and the citizenship proactive behavior exhibited by the individual. The comparison across groups and organization types public, private and entrepreneurial, show the importance of individual thought in mitigating Work Life issues. This study makes contributions at the theoretical level by developing and validating a multi-construct model for WLB. The study highlights the importance of organizational culture, organizational policies and the role of mentoring and networking that the organizations and managers need to delve into. This study entails scope in terms of extension of the model across organizations and cities in India and the development of a WLB measurement scale.
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