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The research problem. The problem that should be approached in the current proposed study concerns the work-life balance and the correlation between the productivity rates and the employees’ stress due to their work-life conflicts as addressed in many current studies (Bardoel, 2006; Yasbek, 2004).
Importance of the research. The importance of the proposed study consists in the possibility of improving the working conditions of employees that suffer from the work-life conflict in case of successful outcomes of the research. Many firms introduce work-life balance programs that help to make the working conditions for employees less stressful and hence shift the conflicts and increase productivity.
It is possible that the tax system can be one of the reasons for constant absenteeism of employees and the factor encouraging such behavior. Besides, people can tend to stay at home even if they simply have some family affairs to cope with; “…tax system financing public sick pay, may paradoxically also affect workers’ sickness behavior.
The reason is that the tax system affects workers’ return on effort, and thus may be considered to provide negative financial incentives” (Dale-Olsen, 2009, p.2). The same problem is regarded in the study by Pfeifer (2009). Bloom et al. (2006) suggest that more effective implementation of management strategies can decrease the work-life conflict and increase the productivity.
Moreover, the generational differences can be the reason for decreased productivity as well regarding the work-life conflict and work-life attitudes with employees of different generations (Parker, 2007).
On the contrary, the study by Burgess and Connell (2006) addresses the current situation and certain perspectives that can be used to evaluate the situation in Australia taking into consideration the proportion of full-time employed male breadwinners compared to female ones. Another important aspect is the influence of the work-life balance programs on female employees as suggested in the study by Kodama (2007).
Some shift in the work-life conflict can be reached through work-life balance programs aimed at coping with employees’ stress and its resulting in reduced productivity. In this respect, it is necessary to study whether the impact of the work-balance programs is positive or negative and try to compare and contrast the companies that adopted the programs and enjoy their results in the form of healthy work-life employees’ balance and increased productivity.
Dependent variable. The dependent variable in this case is the result of the work-life conflict. The main observable results of it are employees’ poor performance and poor organizational productivity. Both aspects can be approached with the help of manipulations aimed at affecting the work-life balance. Certain programs can be used to improve the employees’ health and their attitude to job duties (McLaughlin Young Group, 2010).
Independent variable. The independent variable is the work-life conflict which appears due to the increased number of roles at work and in personal life. As suggested in the study by Bloom et al. (2006), “good management and higher productivity come at the expense of work-life balance” (p.2). Thus, the main target to manipulate is the balance. Any shift can influence the career, more hours spent at work, and hence higher productivity; at the same time this will move the family values aside. To set a priority should not mean to refuse a successful career or a happy family. This dilemma makes most employees distressed and unproductive in terms of their work duties, thus influencing the productivity rates.
Participants. The participants should be taken from at least two businesses engaged into similar production sector. Males and females of different age groups and different positions should be surveyed in order to collect objective information on the production rates and the employment rates. Besides, full-time and part-time employees should indicate their employment rate. In this respect, some information should provide some background information about the employees, whereas other data will help to shape the outlook of the productivity and some measures that can influence it. The time of being employed has to be no less than a year with unbroken record of service.
Materials/apparatus. An abovementioned questionnaire is aimed at providing the researcher with the background information about the employees and the productivity as well as helping to assess the stress of employees in different positions and compare the condition of the employees from the business that implements the work-life balance programs and the one that does not.
Procedure. The procedure should include a survey to collect important information about the productivity of the company and the employees appointed to different positions. A similar survey was used for the study by Mortazavi (2008). The study should take place in the informal environment to avoid excessive stress.
Results and Implications
As the current issue has been recently widely approach by different researchers, it is necessary to conclude that the positive results of the proposed study can be used as a well-grounded proposal for implementation of work-life balance programs in different business sectors regardless of the generation to which the employees belong, the gender, the age, and position, and the record of service.
Bardoel, E. A. (2006). A review of organizational work/life performance measurement. Pp. 69-82. In White, G. (Ed). (2006). Proceedings from 14th International employment Relations Association Conference: Family-friendly Employment Policies and Practices: An East-West Perspective on Work Life Balance. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University.
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Bloom, N., Kretschmer, T., & Reenen, J. V. (2006). Work-life balance, management practices and productivity. Retrieved from Google Scholar Database.
Burgess, J., & Connell, J. (2006). Work and family programs in australia: what are the implications for work-life balance? Pp. 90-101. In White, G. (Ed). (2006). Proceedings from 14th International employment Relations Association Conference: Family-friendly Employment Policies and Practices: An East-West Perspective on Work Life Balance. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University.
Dale-Olsen, H. (2009). Absenteeism, efficiency wages and economic incentives. Retrieved from Google Scholar Database.
Kodama, N. (2007). Effects of work-life balance programs on female employment. Japan Labor Review, 4(4), 97-119.
McLaughlin Young Group. (2010). Supporting healthy and productive employees. Web.
Mortazavi, S. (2008). Employee involvement, productivity, and profitability of the firm. School of Business Humboldt State University. Web.
Parker, C. C. (2007). Generational differences in work life balance attitudes. (Master thesis, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2007). Retrieved from Google Scholar Database.
Pfeifer, C. (2009). Effective working hours and wages: the case of downward adjustment via paid absenteeism. Working Paper Series in Economics, 152. University of Lüneburg.
Yasbek, P. (2004). The business case for firm-level work-life balance policies: a review of the literature. Wellington: Labour Market Policy Group. Web.