Work‐family conflict in East vs Western countries

Zaiton Hassan (Faculty of Cognitive Science and Human Development, University Malaysia Sarawak, Koto Samarahan, Malaysia)
Maureen F. Dollard (Work and Stress Research Group, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Anthony H. Winefield (Work and Stress Research Group, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Publication date: 9 February 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of both directions of work‐family conflict (WFC), work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with work (FIW) in an Eastern culture. Findings are compared with those of 14 other Western studies and the relationships among WIF, FIW and job, family, community and life satisfaction are explored.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is conducted in Malaysia, a country with Islam as the official religion. Data are obtained from 506 employees in three public and three private sector organizations. Questionnaires are distributed via human resource managers.

Findings

Results show that similar to Western studies, WIF scores are higher than FIW scores. Malaysians are significantly lower on WIF than Westerners. Nevertheless, Malaysians score significantly higher on FIW than all Western samples. Within the Malaysian sample, FIW also has a stronger negative relationship with all facets of satisfaction and WIF has a positive relationship with family satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐sectional data are presented which could result in common method bias.

Practical implications

Organizations can assist in minimizing WIF and FIW by providing family‐friendly policies and parenting related programmes. The importance of family in an individual's life in Eastern cultures is different than in Western cultures. Therefore multi‐national companies operating in Eastern settings would be well‐advised to take cultural aspects such as collectivism into consideration.

Originality/value

The study provides insights into Eastern experiences of WIF and FIW compared with Western experiences. The study expands previous studies by measuring both directions of WFC and employing a heterogeneous sample (e.g. not just female, those married, those with children).

Keywords

Citation

Hassan, Z., Dollard, M. and Winefield, A. (2010), "Work‐family conflict in East vs Western countries", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 30-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527601011016899

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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