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Factors that influence perceptions of work-life balance in owners of copreneurial firms

Jill R. Helmle (Citrix, San Diego, California, USA)
Isabel C. Botero (Fediuk Botero LLC, Lexington, Kentucky, USA and Gatton College of Business & Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
David R. Seibold (College of Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA)

Journal of Family Business Management

ISSN: 2043-6238

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors that influence perceptions of work-life balance among owners of copreneurial firms. Research on work-life balance in the context of family firms has focussed on the effects that perceptions of balance can have on the emotional well-being of business owners and performance of the firm. Less attention has been given to understanding the factors affecting an owner's perceptions of work-life balance. This paper not only explores the antecedents of perceptions of work-life balance but does so with copreneurs, or couples who own and manage a firm.


Data for this study were collected using surveys. In all, 210 copreneurs with businesses in nearly 20 industries answered questions about their perceptions of work-life balance, work-life conflict (WLC), life-work conflict, communication practices, characteristics of their jobs, and spousal support.


WLC was negatively related to perceptions of work-life balance. Job involvement, flexibility at work, and permeability of communication were significantly related to perceptions of WLC. Interestingly spousal support did not affect individual perceptions of life-work balance, but had a direct influence on perceptions of work-life balance.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was not randomly selected, and participants were surveyed at only one point in time. Notwithstanding these limitations, the findings have implications for advancing research and theory in the areas of family business, work-life issues, and communication. While the paper focus on copreneurial firms, the findings may have implications for family firms and co-founded ventures.

Practical implications

The potential benefits of copreneurs’ increased awareness of these findings (from readings or through coaching) are important given prior research demonstrating that family to work conflict and work to family conflict affect the emotional well-being of family business owners, their satisfaction with work, and firm performance.


This project offers two important contributions to research in family firms. First, it focusses on copreneurial firms as a unique type of family firm which has the potential to shed light on the differences between family firms. Second, results from this study provide a picture of the predictors of work-life balance for couples who are firm owners.



R. Helmle, J., C. Botero, I. and R. Seibold, D. (2014), "Factors that influence perceptions of work-life balance in owners of copreneurial firms", Journal of Family Business Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 110-132.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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