Work-Family Conflict of Dual Career Couples

Topics: Work-family conflict, Family, Role Pages: 11 (3401 words) Published: September 3, 2012
1. Based on the case, identify and describe the main research problem.
Traditionally, the role of taking care of children is considered to be the work of wives while the husband are the breadwinner (Aryee&Luk, 1996). Nowadays, more and more parents are dual-earner couples and the multiple roles of the parents create a lot of work-life conflict, especially for those who work in the same organizations. According to the statistics report conducted by the Queensland Government, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities Services , the labour force participation rate is 60.7% for women and 72.9% for men (May 2012). In year 2007, Queensland recorded the highest fertility rates since 1977. In the same year female workforce participation rates were at an all time high.

There were two main research problems which can be identified from the case. According to the record reviewed by the HR Manager of the Federal Government, it was learnt that nearly 15 percent of the married couples of the total staff of the state who were working for the same organization. The first problem was that more and more dual-career couples are facing work-family conflict. From the case, the lawyer tendered the resignation and chose to spare more time to take care of her sick two-year-old daughter. Besides, the work-family conflict also affects the work-to-relationship among the dual-career couples. According to the statistics data from the Queensland Government in May 2012, Queensland women’s labour force participation is lower than that of their male counterparts, and gender representation across all levels of an organization tends to be unequal. There have been slight improvements in measures such as women’s representation in positions of public office and leadership, but no significant increases could be seen since 2004. Women are still not well represented in senior positions in any industry, particularly in those which have the greatest financial reward or in those with the greatest influence in our society. The outcomes measures of work-family conflict including life satisfaction, job satisfaction, marital satisfaction, work quality, labour force withdrawal intention (e.g. Aryee, 1992) and turnover intention (e.g., Frone, Russell, & Copper, 1992). From the case, it revealed the situation regarding the problem of dual-career couples who work in the same organization. It is not only the problem faced by the dual-career couples who think that the spouse professional career had taken precedence over one’s own. The second problem we can observe form the case was that the department of Federal Government was facing recruitment and retention problem. Work-family conflict to the dual-career couples is anticipated to have crucial influence on the turnover rate in the Federal Government department. Some researchers found that work-family conflict might have positive relation to withdrawal decision from a profession (Greenhaus, Parasuraman & Collins, 2001). The dual-career couples who work in the same organization actually involved conflict of interest. As we can learn from the case, the lawyer was leaving the organization unhappily and she thought that her husband who worked in the same organization had been taken precedence over her own. Besides, it seemed that the organization did not have enough family-friendly policies (e.g. flexible working arrangement) to support the increasing number of working mothers. Work-family conflict

According to Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) work-family conflict which is a form of interrole conflict where the demands of functioning in the two domains of work and family are incompatible in some respect. The overtime work and demanding job made her stressful in terms of the three types of work-family conflict: time-based, strained-based and behavior-based (Greenhaus et al., 1985). The extensive work-family conflict became one of the stressors and caused the lawyer to resign. Work Family...
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