Job Autonomy And Work/life Balance
Employees with high levels of job autonomy and control over their
schedules are more likely to bring their work home with them, according
to surprising new research out of the University of Toronto.
Using data from a 2002 nationally representative survey of
more than 2,600 American workers, sociology professor Scott Schieman
and Ph.D. student Paul Glavin examined the impacts of schedule control
and job autonomy on work-family role blurring. Role blurring is
measured by how often employees bring work home and how often they
receive work-related contact outside of normal working hours.
The study found the following:
- Having great schedule control - that is, having greater
control over the start and finish times of work - is associated with
more frequent work-family role blurring; this pattern is stronger among
- Having greater job autonomy is associated with more frequent work-family role blurring among both women and men;
- Men in autonomous jobs are more likely than women in
similarly autonomous jobs to receive work-related contact outside of
normal work hours;
- Among both genders, receiving work-related contact
outside of normal work hours increases work-to-family conflict, but
only among individuals who have less autonomy at work
"These patterns are somewhat unexpected because they
identify a potential downside of work-related resources like schedule
control and job autonomy," says Schieman, lead author of the study.
"While there is little doubt that these are highly valued resources in
the workplace, we find they may cause trouble for people trying to
navigate the boundaries between work and family life. Part of the
downside of schedule control and autonomy is that more work may come
home as a result of having these apparently desirable resources.
Employees wonder: When does work end and non-work life begin?"
Schieman adds the findings are important because researchers
have established work-to-family conflict as a core stressor in peoples'
"Conflict between work and family demands is strongly
associated with unfavourable personal, health, social and
organizational outcomes," he says.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
Source: April Kemick
University of Toronto