Work/ Life Balance
When Work and Family Conflict, Men are more likely than Women to Leave Their Job by Alan Price
Work/ life balance has become a major concept in managing human resources productivity today. Work/ life balance refers to ensuring a balance between an employees work responsibility and his home/ family responsibility. Work/life conflicts have in many occasions being associated with high levels of job stress, high employee turn over, conflict among employees and low employee motivation that lead to low productivity. Work/ life conflict may be as a result of long working hours, more workload, a lot of family responsibility and working shifts that conflicts with time an individual is supposed to conduct his family duties.
This article by Alan Price (2003) is based on a study conducted by Ann Huffman et al to determine whether time demand of a job and work load perception affected both sexes in the same way. In normal circumstances any one would conclude that females are more likely to be victims of work/ life conflict than men. This is because it is common practice in most societies that women assume most of the domestic responsibilities while men take the role of the bread winners. However, the finding of the study by Ann Huffman et al presented a very different scenario. The study came to a conclusion that more males than females are likely to leave their jobs due to work/ family responsibility conflict. Ann Huffman et al have tried to explain these unlikely results by an explanation about changing times and roles.
According to this article as circumstances changed women begun to take up more responsibilities at the work place. This resulted to more work/life conflict for the women as they were still expected to continue performing their household chores. As time went by the women adopted to their new roles and begun to feel comfortable in performing both duties. Circumstances are again changing and now men are required as assume more responsibilities at home while maintaining the same work responsibility that they had. This is having a toll on the men as they are not used to balancing between work and life responsibility. This transitional period for men is what is believed to have influenced the outcome of results in this article.
The findings of Ann Huffman et als study contradict with Hochschild’s, “The Time Bind,” argument. According to Hauchschild time bound argument, people prefer to spend more time at the work place than at home. She argues that due to changes in working environment and conditions at the work place, a more conducive environment for people to interact, find a network of support and get recognition has been created. According to her, people now remain at the work place longer because they prefer it that way than due to having being compelled to remain. Many people remain at the work place to avoid the speed up of family life, spouses and protesting children. When such employees get home they find themselves always occupied as they have to make use of the little time they have allocated for their stay at home to perform all their responsibilities. Due to their busy schedule at home they interact less with other family members, receive little recognition and sometimes end up being resented by other family members. Thus work place now provide attractive environment than home making more employees want to remain there for longer hours leading to a time bind
Hauchschild argues that women stand greater chances of suffering from the time bind due to their huge responsibilities at home. This is quite a contradiction to the finding of Ann Huffman et al study that present the idea that men are now taking up more responsibilities at home and therefore suffer more from work/ life conflict. Ann Huffman et al study also reveals that 70% of workers are dissatisfied with their work life balance and more than half of this figure are considering moving on to other jobs. This is contrary to Hauchschilds argument that modern work environment are so conducive that workers are more willing to stay art work than go home early. If this was the case, then the 70% would not be dissatisfied with their work terms at their conducive work environment and consider getting jobs that will give them more time to spend in the stressful home environments, as Hauchschild puts it. Contrary to the Time Bind argument this article present the idea that work places are characterized by long working hours and a lot of work load that interfere with individual time at home. According to the article, more men than women now feel that their work responsibilities are interfering with their responsibility to meet family obligations.
In summary, contrary to the Time Bind argument this article presented the idea that work/life conflict are as result of long working hours, huge work load and a lot of home responsibilities. Judging from this article, Hauchschilds argument that work/life balance is usually as result of workers choice is a misconception.
David (1997), Review of The Time Bind, by Arlie R Hochschild, retrieved on February 2, 2011, from http://asweb.artsci.uc.edu/sociology/kunzctr/timebind.htm
Price (2003), When Work and Family Conflict, Men are more likely than Women to Leave Their Job by Alan Price, retrieved on February 2, 2011, from http://www.hrmguide.com/worklife/men_more_likely_to_leave.htm
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