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Workaholic worker type differences in work‐family conflict: The moderating role of supervisor support and flexible work scheduling

James A. Russo (Department of Management, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Lea E. Waters (Department of Management, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 1 August 2006

Abstract

Purpose

This study had three aims. First, to examine the validity of the workaholism triad as compared to the workaholism dyad. Second, to test the relationship between workaholism and work‐family conflict. Third, to explore the three‐way relationships between worker type, work‐family conflict (WFC) and supervisor support and flexible work schedules.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants consisted of 169 workers employed in the legal industry. The sample used was respondent‐driven and questionnaires were self‐administered. Workaholism was operationalised using two dimensions of the Spence and Robbins WorkBat: first, drive to work and second, work enjoyment, which produced four worker types (workaholics, enthusiastic workaholics, relaxed workers and uninvolved workers).

Findings

Support was found for McMillan et al.'s dyad conceptualisation of workaholism as opposed to Spence and Robbins' triad model. Specifically it was found that the work involvement subscale had low internal reliability and an unreliable factor structure. Results demonstrated that worker type was significantly related to WFC. Specifically, workaholics and enthusiastic workaholics experienced significantly more WFC than relaxed and uninvolved workers. Regarding the three‐way relationships, it was found that worker type moderated the relationship between schedule flexibility and WFC. Specifically, it was found that enthusiastic workaholics, in contrast to their workaholic counterparts, experienced declining WFC with access to flexible scheduling. Supervisor support was not significant.

Practical implications

The current study suggests that blanket policies, designed to promote work‐life balance, are unlikely to be effective for all employees. Indeed, it appears that although both workaholics and enthusiastic workaholics experience high levels of WFC, these two worker types may require different support mechanisms in order to achieve greater work‐life balance.

Originality/value

Despite their apparent conceptual linkage, the relationship between workaholism and work‐family conflict has not been explored in the literature to date. The current study contributes to the field of organisational behaviour both through proposing an additional dispositional antecedent to WFC (i.e. workaholism) and through uncovering an additional consequence of workaholic behaviour patterns (i.e. WFC).

Keywords

Citation

Russo, J.A. and Waters, L.E. (2006), "Workaholic worker type differences in work‐family conflict: The moderating role of supervisor support and flexible work scheduling", Career Development International, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 418-439. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620430610683052

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited