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The relationship between international business travel and sleep problems via work-family conflict

Liisa Mäkelä (Department of Management, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)
Barbara Bergbom (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)
Jussi Tanskanen (Department of Management, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)
Ulla Kinnunen (School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study well-being among the internationally mobile work force by exploring the relationships between international business traveling, work-family conflict (WFC), and health issues. In this study, these relationships are examined on the basis of the health impairment process of the job demands-resources model. More specifically, the study examines the role of WFC as a mediator between international business travel and sleep problems using a full panel design.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study are drawn from Finnish employees whose work involved international business travel (n=868) and who answered two surveys with a one-year time lag.

Findings

The results showed that international business travel in terms of the number of travel days per year, while not predicting sleep problems directly over time, did significantly increase WFC, which in turn increased sleep problems. Thus, WFC functioned as a mediator in the relationship between business travel and subsequent sleep problems.

Practical implications

The results indicate that family-friendly HR policies and practices might help international business travelers (IBTs) reduce levels of WFC, which could in turn protect them from harmful health effects, particularly sleep problems.

Originality/value

The study examines the understudied professional group of IBTs and contributes to the knowledge on their well-being and WFC issues.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Project is sponsored by The Finnish Work Environment Fund, grant number: 107078.

Citation

Mäkelä, L., Bergbom, B., Tanskanen, J. and Kinnunen, U. (2014), "The relationship between international business travel and sleep problems via work-family conflict", Career Development International, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp. 794-812. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-04-2014-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited