Article Summary on Work to Life Conflict of Communication Technologies

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BUSADMIN 761: MANAGEMENT

Work to life conflict of communication technologies

Article Summary

Over the last twenty years communication technologies have not only become a part of everyday social life, they are a third arm to an informal virtual office.

In this article (Boswell & Olson-Buchanan, 2007) investigate how the use of communication technologies outside of the normal working hours relates to work attitudes and work-to-life conflict. This article looks at the correlation between the type of individuals that are more likely to allow the work crossover into their personal lives and their usage of communication technologies.

(Boswell & Olson-Buchanan, 2007) seek to validate a number of hypotheses about communication technologies:

1. Use after hours relates positively with (a) affective commitment, (b) job involvement, and (c) ambition.
2. Use after hours relates positively with employee work-to-life conflict. 2b. Use after hours relates positively with employee work-to-life conflict as reported by the employee’s significant other.

The study focused on five typical technologies used by employees to electronically connect to the workplace: mobile phones, email, voicemail, personal data assistants (PDAs) and pagers. The study also focuses on three conceptual elements and possible traits of the individuals using communication technologies out of hours; they were affective commitment, ambition, and job involvement. There are suggestions a person’s attachment and career aspirations to the organisation changes their responses towards working beyond the call of duty.

Method

Non-academic staff employees and a significant other for some employees received a survey packet via the university mail system including a cover letter, the survey and reply envelope. The packet explained the survey process to all participants, however only the managers and administration staff received a second survey for a significant other.

Participants were asked to report the number of times a day they used one of the five communication technologies for work outside of the normal work hours. The significant other was to report on the correlating staff employee’s use, and had to be someone quite close such as a spouse, partner or an adult child etc.

All the employees taking part in the survey had been set matching work hours from 8am – 5pm. This was to ensure no-one was in a different position regarding the expected or not expected use of communication technologies as part of their existing job requirements.

The measures within the survey content used different scales to analyse the three hypotheses and the overall work-to-life conflict using statements to engage the employees. Participants were asked if they 1. Strongly disagree through to 5. Strongly agree with statements provided in the surveys, this was for both employees and significant others. For example one of the statements to assist in validating job involvement was “The most important things that happen to me involve my job”.

In addition to analysing the results of the survey through correlation and regression, the authors also carried out a number of post hoc analysis to understand the relationships "after controlling for hours spent working during non work hours and demographic variables" such as sex, marital status and number of dependants (family demands) (Boswell and Olson-Buchanan 2007).

Results

A total of 365 surveys were received back from the (Boswell & Olson-Buchanan, 2007) study with a response rate of 38 percent from the employee surveys and 27 percent from the significant other surveys. The results driven from the respondents of the survey for the hypotheses regarding communication technologies were as follows:-

1. Use after hours relates positively with (a) effective commitment - No (b) job...
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