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“Negative interference” between Australian construction professionals' work and family roles: Evidence of an asymmetrical relationship

Helen Lingard (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Valerie Francis (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 16 January 2007



The paper sets out to describe the testing of a model of work and family life among a sample of professional and managerial employees in the Australian construction industry. The model positioned work‐family conflict as a variable linking experiences in one domain (i.e. work or family) with outcomes in the other domain.


A survey exploring experiences of work and family life was conducted among employees of one large private and one large public sector construction organization in Queensland, Australia. Regression analyses were performed to test the validity of the work‐family interface model.


The model was partially supported in that time and strain‐based demands in the work domain were linked to family functioning via work interference with family. However, time and strain‐based demands in the family domain were not linked to work role outcomes via family interference with work.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was cross‐sectional so the causal direction of relationships could not be ascertained. Longitudinal research is needed to establish the causal direction of the work‐family relationships supported by the research. Further research is also required to examine the effectiveness of strategies designed to reduce work interference with family life in the construction sector.

Practical implications

The asymmetry in the relationship between construction employees' work and family lives indicates that the family life of professional and managerial construction employees in Australia is more susceptible to interference from work than work life is susceptible to interference from family life.


Provides evidence that, when construction professionals and managers face obligations in one role that interfere with the enactment of a second role, performance in the second role suffers.



Lingard, H. and Francis, V. (2007), "“Negative interference” between Australian construction professionals' work and family roles: Evidence of an asymmetrical relationship", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 79-93.



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